Well. This is embarrassing.
Here’s an album from a few months ago that I failed to write about. I’m not sure just how I overlooked this little gem of a session, but I did, and now I’ll try to make it right.
Singer/songwriter Miss Bix, or Leslie Letven Bixler, has crafted 13 wonderfully bluesy, jazzy, intimately engaging songs that grace this album. She gets some help from a talented group of musicians and fellow singers to make this a thoroughly enjoyable outing — her second devoted to the blues, in its infinitely varied human forms. Her first effort was the 2017 Delta-influenced, “We Don’t Own The Blues.”
Just so you know, Bixler is not a novice. She has been writing, performing and recording for decades; her earliest efforts focused on smooth jazz, under the name Leslie Letven — the influences of which you can hear throughout this effort.
This set kicks of nicely with a gently chugging shuffle, “Ain’t No Such Thing,” and then shifts into a bluesy “You’ve Got the Nerve,” both enhanced by sinuous guitar.
They are followed by my very favorite track, the splendidly lyrical “Cocktail Hour,” a soft, jazzy exercise in the unbearable lightness of being musically enchanting. If I may be permitted a musical digression, the song and its luminous vocal touch evoked fond memories of Blossom Dearie (c’mon, someone of you must remember her!) with a touch of Ricky Lee Jones and a hint of that great little Michel Franks song, “Popsicle Toes.” I can’t easily explain all that, but it’s my blog and my digression, so. . . .
That is all very nicely followed with the countrified “Trail of Tears,” with some tasty slide work to accentuate the vocals.
Next is the winsome, lovelorn “The Girl You Adore,” which I would pair with “Cocktail Hour” as another late-night tonic for the blues, especially when fueled by the appropriate late-night beverage (I suggest bourbon, but if a cup of tea is your cup of tea. . . .)
A few other favorite highlights include the honky-tonk flavored “Daddy Why,” with co-author Tiffany Pollack sharing the vocals; “Cheer Up Sallie Mae,” with a lyrical acoustic guitar intro moving into a full band backing with a sharp electric solo midway; “You Better Believe It,” with a deep blues feeling; and the haunting closer, “Movin’ On,” a solo acoustic anthem. There’s a lot more to hear, and it’s all excellently done.
This is a very fine album from Miss Bix, filled with honest songwriting, gorgeous vocals and crisp musical backup, all of which deserves your undivided attention.
Here’s a video of “Cocktail Hour”