Uncut - p.903 stars out of 5
-- "[Featuring] a gorgeous voice and a playful pop sensibility -- most noticeable on 'All That I Need Is Love'..."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1024 stars out of 5
-- "An acoustic affair that lives in the hinterland of jazz, it oozes charm and individuality and doesn't attempt to be commercial
Personnel: Melody Gardot (vocals, guitar, piano); Barney McKenna, Jef Lee Johnson (guitar); Mike Brenner (lap steel guitar); David Mowry, Kurt Johnston (dobro); Diane Monroe (violin); Ron Kerber (clarinet, tenor saxophone); Stan Slotter, Patrick Hughes , Matt Cappy (trumpet); Joel Bryant (Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer organ); Charlie Patierno (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Glenn Barratt.
Photographer: Shervin Lainez.
Verve Records has purchased the rights to reissue vocalist Melody Gardot's debut recording, which came out in 2006. Two years after suffering a near fatal automobile accident, the differently able Gardot triumphed in accomplishing what many others, including her, could only dream of. This project has her singing and playing guitar and a little piano, but more so presenting this project of all original material. Gardot has an interesting personal story, but even more intriguing music that straddles the line between lounge jazz, folk, and cowgirl songs. She's part sophisticated chanteuse, college sophomore, and down-home girl next door. Her innocence, sweetness, and light are very alluring, much like the persona of tragic songbirds Eva Cassidy and Nancy LaMott. Feel empathy for Gardot, but don't patronize her -- she's the real deal much more that many of her over-hyped peers. "Quiet Fire" is definitely her signature tune, as it speaks volumes of where her soul is at, in a jazz/blues mode, yearning for true love. The title track follows a similar tack, a slow, sweet, sentimental slinky blues that will melt your heart. A finger-snapping "Goodnite" leaves you wanting that night to continue, but also exudes a hope that permeates the entire recording. She might be a bit down on men during the nonplussed "All That I Need Is Love," but her subdued optimism glows cool. "Sweet Memory" might possibly parallel Feist or perhaps KT Tunstall in a rural country mode, while "Gone" is clearly folkish, and the slow "Some Lessons" expresses a contemporary Nashville precept. The laid-back music behind Gardot is basically acoustic, incorporating hip jazz instrumentation, especially the trumpet of Patrick Hughes and occasional organ, Wurlitzer, or Fender Rhodes from Joel Bryant, but with twists including violin, lap steel, and Dobro. Clocking in at a scant 33 minutes, the concise nature of this recording and these tunes perfectly reflects the realization that life is precious, every moment counts, and satisfaction is fleeting. Likely to be placed in the Norah Jones/Nellie McKay/Madeleine Peyroux pseudo jazz/pop sweepstakes, Gardot offers something decidedly more authentic and genuine. She's one-upped them all out of the gate. ~ Michael G. Nastos