Rene Marie Stevens was born November 7, 1955, and life just plodded along for the first 42 years of her life. She then decided to become a professional singer, and she has been making up for lost time as Black Lace Freudian Slip is her eighth album release since 1999.
She has been described as incorporating elements of soul, gospel, and blues in her music, but at heart she is a jazz singer pure and simple. She has a style that is modeled after such jazz icons as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. The biggest difference is she does not rely on interpreting other people’s material but writes most of her own songs, and on this release penned or co-wrote 10 of the 13 tracks.
Her backing musicians include her own trio consisting of pianist Kevin Bales, bassist Rodney Jordan, and drummer Quentin Baxter, who support her on 11 of the tracks and prove that simple is best when you are supporting someone with the vocal qualities and capabilities of Marie. She has one of those voices that could sing the phone book and bring it to life. Her band is supportive and has the experience to keep the main focus on her. Acoustic guitarist Bill Kopper, electric guitarist and fiddle player Lionel Young, harmonica player Dexter Payne, and vocalist Michael Croan, (her son), provide extra support on the other two tunes, “Wishes” and “Deep In The Mountains.”
The title track is an autobiographical statement about her approach to music that includes erotic lyrics right out of Sigmund Freud. On “Serenity Prayer” she takes the words of Reinhold Niebuhr to create a simple but memorable song. “Gosh Look At The Time,” “Falling Off A Log,” and “Tired” contain well-written and sophisticated lyrics, yet one can envision hearing them is a smoky lounge around midnight.
The best of the outside material is “Deep In The Mountains” by son and guest vocalist Michael Croan, who proves the apple does not fall far from the tree. It has the feel of a legend story come to life and is very different from the rest of the material.
After you have played the CD on your stereo system, put it into your computer and find the live version of the title track recorded July 7, 2011, at Jazz Standard in New York City.
Rene Marie may not be a well-known name, but she has quietly built a catalogue of music that can match most jazz singers active today. If you are in the mood for some interesting and well sung jazz, then Black Lace Freudian Slip is an album for you.