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Introducing Hope Waits

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Album Review

No relation to Tom (although she does perform a killer version of his "Get Behind the Mule"), Hope Waits wraps her deep, slinky, sultry voice around a dozen bluesy/jazzy tracks on this striking debut. Although her styling and singing hint at a combination of Joan Osborne and Maria Muldaur, Waits is no mere imitator. She shifts from torchy originals (the languid "Fortune Teller") to innovative singer/songwriter covers (the Waits song, Dylan's "Ring Them Bells") and gripping, stripped-down versions of standards (an eerie, somewhat menacing "Come Rain or Come Shine"). Most of the album's four originals are assisted or written by Peter Malick, who also produced and plays guitar. Her take on the Ray Charles chestnut "Drown in My Own Tears," accompanied by the horns that appear on a handful of selections, is a tour de force as she slows the song's tempo to a crawl and wrings every last drop of emotion out of the lyrics. Like the finest interpreters, Waits brings a fresh perspective to this material through her rearrangements. The opening cover of Jackie Wilson's "I'll Be Satisfied" keeps the soul while adding a dollop of jazz and bluesy swing. She digs into "Cigarettes and Coffee" with nearly as much intensity as Otis Redding, no easy task, and makes the standard her own. She's somewhat less successful on a shuffle blues reading of "Mother-in-Law Blues," best known through Bobby "Blue" Bland, even with an accordion added to twist the approach and add a touch of Louisiana R&B. There are obvious comparisons to Norah Jones' similar style (Malick has also worked with Jones), but Waits' technique is less easy listening, far more dark and edgy. Malick and Waits create a classic sound, very sparse but not quite stark, that highlights her gripping vocals. Atmospheric, intense, and often hypnotic, Waits' debut is a delight and a real find for those who walk down the more ominous side of the jazz/blues boulevard.

Customer Reviews


This is a well produced album. Hope's voice is the cat's meow. I'm sure one of these tracks will wind up in a major motion picture soon. Being from Louisiana, I love Fortune Teller and the song gives me chill bumps every time I hear it. I've already bought the hard copy cd from one of her live performances and got it hand signed, but had to get the new iTunes release on my iPhone right away because it has 2 bonus tracks which sound amazing. I can't wait for the next album to come out! Love, love, love me some Hope Waits!!!

Well over 100 listens and still I'm enthralled by this album

"Introducing Hope Waits" simply has "it". Hope Waits is a vocalist with an undefinable magical set of qualities that make her stand apart from other singers. It's not just the somewhat unique timbre of her voice, or her phrasing, or the subtle nuances that are more felt than heard as she glides from note to ear pleasing note. It's just not the freshness of her interpretations of songs you've heard before by iconic artists -- songs that she has somehow managed to make her own. Nor is it the autobiographical originals that give us a small glimpse into the life experiences of a young artist who's depth of soul is well beyond her years. It's the synergy, or coming together of all these wonderful things that make "Introducing Hope Waits" much more than the some of its parts. As if all that were not enough, toss in some instrumental arrangements and performances that are dead-on perfectly matched for each tune in this somewhat eclectic assortment of songs, and you've got an album that will stand the test of time.

great mixture of soul, blues and jazz

i have had the privilege of seeing ms. waits live and this album is just as impressive. her voice at times has the haunting quality of billie holiday, but with more power. and the music never overpowers or diminishes her amazing vocal lines. with so much manufactured, generic music in the main stream it is refreshing to hear someone with such immense talent and musical honesty.

Customer Ratings