Busy recording and touring with her Duchess trio-mates Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou, Amy Cervini has let four years pass since her last solo session. She more than makes up for lost time with the mightily satisfying No One Ever Tells You, her most impressive album to date. Most of Cervini’s previous release, 2014’s Jazz Country, was propelled by just guitarist Jesse Lewis and bassist Matt Aronoff. Both are back, here joined by pianist Michael Cabe and drummer Jared Schonig, with organist Gary Versace guesting on four tracks.
Cervini’s playlist includes just one original, the kickass “I Don’t Know.” She’s chosen that gritty, bluesy tune as her opener, with Versace stylishly trimming its deep-aching plea for romantic redemption. Broken relationships remain her focus through a powerfully stark reading of Lyle Lovett’s “God Will,” again with Versace, and the drowning-in-bitterness title track, superbly driven by Lewis. The dark mood lifts as Cervini shifts to a loping “Surrey with the Fringe on Top” (who knew Rodgers and Hammerstein’s breezy romp could be so sexy?), a light-as-air “Please Be Kind,” and Eddie Green’s delightfully playful “A Good Man Is Hard to Find.” She indulges her affection for Blossom Dearie with a slithery “Bye-Bye Country Boy.” The adieus continue, Cervini closing with the one-two punch of a fittingly melancholic, Versace-defined “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” and a slow, sly “Hit the Road Jack,” winningly enhanced by her bandmates’ gruff Greek chorus.