Urban Minstrel 2015
Higher and higher, San Fran chanteuse ups the ante on album number two.
She calls herself urban minstrel and folk diva and, thus, gravitates down to earth but, be it physical or metaphorical, BB embraces both connotations of her new record’s title on a set of songs that marry matters celestial and mundane to their common emotional denominator. And while in the very heart of it flutters “Fly” that calls for a solemn ascension, the real spiritual uplift lies in the second and the penultimate tracks of “Rise”: the vaudevillian “Rhyme Or Reason” and “Love Will Come Back” with their organ ride. It comes quite unexpected, given the vigorous waltz of “I Don’t Believe In Love” and the elegant reggae of opener “Grace” whose confessional skank is colored with a red-hot trumpet which so nicely supports Bekah’s velvet voice.
Her operatic training might be well-hidden here, yet that’s the root of slightest vibrato inflections on “Fame & Fortune” where Barnett, backed by orchestral sway, expresses her frustration following the attempt to catch the “America’s Got Talent” glitterball. Still, although “See You Soon” catches onto the main theme with its “I’m too high to come down” refrain and the middle part of “Beautiful Girls” steps on a stairway to the stars, it’s not all stately piano here, and the game gets humorous for “Butter Your Toast” to project a handclaps-helped smile and for the brisk “Get Outta Park” celebration. So while some of the pieces tend to be monotonous, there’s a great promise in the most introspective of those, such as “Jesus & Judas” which betrays a Joni Mitchell influence. There’s a sure way up for BB.