Carol Fredette: No Sad Songs for Me

To find a theme for her latest album, veteran vocalist Carol Fredette needed only to look at her living room wall. There hangs a poster for the 1950 film No Sad Songs for Me starring Margaret Sullavan. Fredette and Sullavan seem kindred spirits: exceptionally gifted artists, masters of subtlety who remain vastly underappreciated. Sullavan staunchly refused to be victimized. Indeed, she became infamous in Hollywood as the only actor able to intimidate tyrannical MGM pasha Louis B. Mayer. Across more than four decades, Fredette has sung her fair share of torch songs about romantic victims. No more, she decided. With David Finck, in his third session as her producer and bassist (and first as arranger), she chose 14 tunes that offer more empowered and optimistic views of life and love.

At this point in her career, Fredette suggests a potent blend of Elaine Stritch’s gin-soaked sophistication and Diana Krall’s smoky warmth. In other words, she exudes style and substance. Backed by a Finck-anchored sextet, she travels from a sizzling samba treatment of Cole Porter’s “I Am in Love” to the breezy adieu of “No Regrets.” Though her plucky playlist includes chestnuts both familiar and rare, the standout is the Finck-penned title track, a delightful survivalist anthem.