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Kathleen Grace Band: Songbird

One of the most interesting newcomers on the American scene, Arizona-bred Kathleen Grace made her recording debut just two years ago, with the impressive Sunrise. Now, with a new band comprised of pianist Matt Politano, bassist Ryan McGillicuddy, drummer Andrew Fockel, percussionist Bobby Wilmore and, most notably, guitarist Perry Smith, Grace kicks it up a notch with this wide-ranging assortment of covers and originals that amplify her genre-blurring dexterity. Hers is a crisp, cool sort of Jo Stafford-meets-Jane Monheit vibe that’s as well suited to a sparkling, sun-dappled spin through “I’ll Be Seeing You” as it is to the gently countrified, rigors-of-the-road lament “I Return to You,” featuring Grace’s lyric fitted to Pat Metheny’s “Travels.”

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