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Melissa Walker: Moment of Truth

Melissa Walker’s second CD displays both her strengths and weaknesses. She’s an authoritative vocalist with a rich, dark instrument who has assembled a challenging, unhackneyed repertoire. But, like a latter-day Betty Carter (to whom she dedicates “If I Should Lose You”), she concentrates on sound at the expense of feeling. She phrases the lyric of “At Seventeen”, the opening track, so choppily and overloads it with so many hip embellishments that songwriter Janis Ian’s confession of adolescent angst becomes monotonous and sometimes unintelligible.

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