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Sue Matthews: One at a Time…

Maryland’s Sue Matthews is the sort of singer who puts the “easy” in easy listening. With bell-like clarity and sterling enunciation, Matthews breezes through an even dozen tracks on One at a Time… (Renata Music), sounding rather like a caffeinated Julie London. Her whispery warmth is well suited to soft, somber anthems like “Here’s to Life” and “How Insensitive.” She fully captures the dreamy naivete of “My Romance” and picks up the pace for a nicely percolated “Down With Love” but can’t quite ignite “Wild Women Don’t Get the Blues,” sounding more like a naughty novice than a street-smart gal who knows the romantic ropes. Kudos, though, for her circumspect handling of “Losing My Mind.” Where most singers take the lyric a little too literally, hinting that they’re about to be dragged off to the booby hatch, Matthews appreciates that Sondheim’s intent was to metaphorically capture the intoxicating disorientation of overwhelming desire. Its modulated hysteria hints at considerable depth beneath her smooth surface.

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