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The Little Garden

Erin Bode

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Album Review

Like Norah Jones, Erin Bode is a sweet-voiced singer with a jazz background and a healthy disregard for musical boundaries. Also like Jones, she gravitates towards quiet, gentle, straightforwardly melodic fare. On The Little Garden she continues her songwriting collaboration with bandmember and multi-instrumentalist Adam Maness, and the result is a bit more mixed than their previous work has been. It may be the deepening of their skill and their musical relationship, but their songs are getting more and more subtle as time goes on — sometimes a bit too subtle. "New England Friends" is a charming and deeply felt song, but as it progresses you start to get the feeling that it's more about the words than the music (a tendency that we critics refer to as the Elvis Costello Disease); "Two" also feels a bit flat and uneventful, melodically speaking, and "Out of Time" spends way too much time on a two-chord vamp. But the rest of the album moves from strength to strength: "Sweater Song" is sad and heartrendingly lovely; "Sydney Come Down" rocks out gorgeously; "It's All Your Fault" is both witty and soulful, with a brilliant horn chart. And Bode's jazzy take on the Paul Simon song "Born at the Right Time" is a gem. Throughout the album, her voice is a complete joy, and redeems even the songs that are least interesting otherwise.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '00s

Erin Bode (her surname is pronounced as two syllables, each with long vowels) is a singer who is comfortable mixing jazz standards with well-known pop tunes and classics from the Great American Songbook in a typical performance. The daughter of a Lutheran pastor who was raised in a musical household in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, Bode sang in a church choir as a teenager before discovering jazz and big-band music while in high school in St. Louis. She also studied trumpet and participated in theater,...
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The Little Garden, Erin Bode
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