Kaye Bohler - Like A Flower (The Kaye Bohler Band; KB 2009)
reviewed by Michael Macomber
I’m telling ya, this lady has more than a little Aretha in her big, beautiful blues belt. She isn’t a sound-alike by any means, but she has that kind of power, that kind of nuance and that kind of emotional resonance. Her stylistic range is impressive too. “Wasted On You” opens like a smooth R&B number, but gradually resolves itself into a self-empowering declaration in the “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” class. “Constant State of the Blues” is a mix of thumping blues and 60s soul, pulsing with pain and rhythmic power. As her story gets more and more dire, the edge in her beautiful voice gets sharper and sharper. It becomes clear that nothing, and I mean nothing, can get in her away.
Of course, Ms. Bohler is much more than a magnificent set of pipes. It also turns out she’s a killer songwriter, author of every tune on this disc. Once again, her range is incredible. “I Got to Know” is a jump blues n’ swing number that could have come right out of the ’40s. “Another Man’s Arms” is badass Curtis Mayfield soul, the hit single from a film soundtrack that never was. “My Heart Beats for Him” could have come directly from the pen of Mr. Cole Porter. Her vocal approach on this one is so Billie Holiday it’ll give you shivers. Again, no imitation, but rather emulation. She is so gentle, so subtle, so glorious.
If you miss the gold old days–whether those days were in the 40s, 50s, 60s, or 70s–or you just want to curl up with the true sound of rhythm n’ blues, Kaye Bohler’s “Like a Flower” will fill the bill. Utterly breathtaking.