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Molly Johnson: Another Day

At long last, listeners south of the 49th parallel can share a secret that savvy Canadians have known for decades. Blessed with a chameleonlike showmanship that’s seen her progress from funkified queen of Toronto’s ultra-hip Queen Street West crowd in the 1980s to sultry postmillennial chanteuse, Molly Johnson is one sizzling survivor. Making her U.S. debut with Another Day (Narada), Johnson is a spicy ragu of Maria Muldaur, Billie Holiday and Stevie Nicks. A heady blend to be sure, but one that enables her to shift effortlessly from the dusky desolation of bassist Mike Downes’ bluesy languor of “Sleep in Late” to the shimmy and shake of Quincy Jones’ “Miss Celie’s Blues,” boppin’ ragtime beat of Steve MacKinnon’s “Red Cardinal” and breezy warmth of her own “Melody.” On “Sweet Sublime” her languid tenderness flows, as the lyric suggests, “like sweet vermouth,” and her “Summertime” is as coolly refreshing as a poolside pitcher of margaritas. Most satisfying of all, though, is the pairing of Johnson and keyboardist/ backup vocalist Andrew Craig on a shimmering blend of Stan Vincent’s “Ooh Child” and Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” that’ll leave you cheering “good golly, miss Molly!”

Originally Published