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World Music CD Reviews North American

ERIKA LUCKETT

By MARIE ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Published April 7, 2006

The New Orleans Sessions
BirdFish

Erika Luckett’s voice wafts easily through the speakers on The New Orleans Sessions, her second solo album in less than six months. Unlike on My Little Crime, Luckett sings unaccompanied save her guitar, and the strip-down approach burnishes the clarity of her personal lyrics and accentuates the compositions’ depth, ringing with textures of Brazil and Venezuela (where she was raised) as well as folk, blues and jazz. Luckett steers clear of cloying love songs, opting for stories: sly revels of a searching soul and life in motion. “I believe in tomorrow despite the troubles we face,” she sings on “Kindness,” “because I believe in the human race.” On “Si Volverá,” sung in Spanish, she observes one man’s anguish: “He paints her smile, her eyes and the story that was lost.” Luckett’s unadorned take serves her remakes well: she sings “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (the Goffin/King classic) with the bittersweet understanding of a woman who has loved and lost but hopes nevertheless.