Erin McDougald: The Auburn Collection

Judging by Erin McDougald’s admirably flawed, sepia-tinted The Auburn Collection (Flapper Girl), I suspect the Chicago chanteuse has spent considerable listening time with the collected works of Anita O’Day and Billie Holiday. If so, it has served McDougald well, enabling her to hide a limited range and certain emotional ingenuousness behind decent stylistic replications of two giants. There’s an appropriately enthusiastic bounce to her “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” her “Close Enough for Love” is candlelit cozy, her “Autumn in New York” is nicely crisp and her “Where Flamingoes Fly” is as yearningly plaintive as it should be (though she would have been well advised to give Helen Merrill’s version a spin to better appreciate the lyric’s haunted fogginess.) Trouble is, McDougald lacks both the warmth of Holiday and the coolness of O’Day, leaving her abandoned in a climactically uninteresting middle ground.