Review: Exciting performances from singer Tomi Lunsford

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Posted: Jul 28, 2016 1:44 PM
Review: Exciting performances from singer Tomi Lunsford

Tomi Lunsford, "Come On Blue" (Seedbank)

"Come On Blue" includes wah-wah guitar, pedal steel and a saw, and singer Tomi Lunsford mimics them all. Elsewhere her voice sounds like a trombone, trumpet or sax, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley or a police siren. The great niece of folklorist Bascom Lunsford is an exciting singer who leaves listeners wondering what the next verse will bring.

It helps that Lunsford has such a powerful, flexible instrument. She boldly attacks country blues with scoops and slides, hints at a yodel and pingponging between notes. Singing such words as "howl" and "shout," she makes them sound like what they mean. On her second album, the Nashville-based Lunsford rarely rests, kicking off the first couple of cuts and punctuating others with wordless but entertaining postscripts.

Lunsford's a talented composer too, and she had a hand in writing 11 of the 12 songs. Highlights include the love ballad "You Can Leave Me Now," the gospel shuffle "Jesus Was a Union Man" and the whimsical blues "Go to People."

"I had go-to people all over town," she laments. "But one got married, and another one drowned. ... All my go-to people are gone."

Lunsford receives excellent support from her backing band, especially Daniel Cohen on guitar and James Haggerty on standup bass. An occasional buzz in the right channel reflects the relaxed approach to the recording sessions, but Lunsford's voice should create an even bigger buzz.