Gold Tooth Records/Tone Tree Music
A lot of people have found out about Becca Mancari due to her involvement in a little trio called Bermuda Triangle – featuring Mancari alongside fellow singer/songwriters Brittany A. Howard and Jesse Lafser. But she has a whole world of her own music to discover on this impressive debut. Shimmery, shiny, gauzy, lovely guitar textures thanks to Blake Reams (pedal steel) and Juan Solorzano, and the sort of touch that Blake Mills and Tucker Martine have been offering on a slew of great, new releases by dab hand Kyle Ryan.
If that’s the set-up it’s Mancari providing all the punchlines, sharp, sensitive, clever songs that move from the introspective opener (Arizona Fire) to the playful pop of Waiting So Long, through the country-drive of Summertime Mama, which sounds all at once like Wilco, Beck, Big Thief and Neko Case.
In fact, keep those touchstones in mind as you move through Good Woman.
Golden is reminiscent of Beck in his acoustic-crooner phases, Long Way Down feels like some of the material from that wonderful case / lang /veirs album, Mancari just stepping up and owning it all as the one-woman-talent here.
There are many moods captured here, but there’s no indulgence. You’ll hear the lovely country feels from time to time, none better than on Kitchen Dancing. But there’s a pop instinct at play too. And though there’s fine, textured playing and arranging there’s nothing indulgent. It’s everything in the right place and only sticking around for the good time, never a long time. At just nine songs and 33 minutes there’s a level of refinement (and sophistication) here that many artists struggle to meet after a lifetime of releasing records.
The closing, title track is a torch song for dusty back roads. It’s almost the finest thing here. The only reason I hesitate is because there’s nothing close to a dud song here. It’s all great. All smart. All strong.
She’s one to watch. And for the time being this is one to listen to again and again…
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