Talk about keeping it simple, jazz singer/song writer Ellynne Plotnick's latest album I Will has her singing her vocals with only a guitar and bass accompaniment, and not only does she manage to make it work, she makes it magical. It just goes to show, if you have the voice and if you have the material, you don't need all that lavish production. To coin a cliché, less is more.
The new album's ten tracks include three covers and seven original compositions. The covers are excellent, but the originals are something special. Plotnick writes lyrics with the pen of a poet, and she delivers them with cool elegance. "Falling," which opens the album, plays tantalizingly with the myth of Icarus, the son of Daedelus who donned a set of wings created by his father, but flew too close to the sun. The wax that held the wings together melted. The youth fell to the earth and became legend. Usually thought of as a cautionary tale aimed at over-reaching ambition, Plotnick's song suggests that flying too high may not be all that bad. The falling woman in her song ends up as a goddess leaving a "broken world." The more you listen to the lyric, the deeper it grows. It is a good indication of what is to come.
"Rosa Lee" looks at what has become of a girl who "used to chase tornadoes" and "tip the neighbor's cows" when she is trapped by the hard knocks of life. "Anywhere But Here" is a bluesy take on lost love with some truly original images: "I'm snowblind in the trees/Stumbling through the cold wet dark;" "If your love was a sailboat?/I'd want to be the sea." Surprisingly since the words are hers, although these last are the lines in the liner notes, when she actually sings them, she changes them slightly. In "Please Forget Me," a break-up song, she tells the lover to wash her off "like a fake tattoo" and ends ironically by saying forget me, because "I can't forget you." These are just a few samples of Plotnick's prowess with a lyric; each of the seven originals offers examples equally evocative.