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Best Of The Batch: Janine Davey
Looking For You
By Timothy Peters
(more articles from this author)
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Artist: Janine Davy
Title: Looking for You
Genre: Pop/Adult Contemporary
Format: CD
Label: Funsktown Records

Those who find the combination of smart production, crisp playing, and a distinctive female voice among their chief pop-rock musical pleasures will hear much to enjoy in Janine Davy’s debut CD, Looking for You, on Memphis-based Funkstown Records.

Unlike many independent singers who, whether due to economics or lack of imagination, employ uniform, synth-laden arrangements, Davy’s disc offers a pleasing variety of moods, styles, instrumentation, and dynamics, all anchored by her slightly husky contralto.

The songs are catchy and well played, with particularly intelligent guitar lines by co-producer and chief songwriter Steven Digman. But Janine Davy’s voice is at the center of the record, and rightfully so. While many female singers feel obliged to imitate the bombast of Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, Davy clearly understands the value of understatement and nuance, with the result that the CD rewards repeated listens. Fans of singers such as Bonnie Raitt, Tracy Nelson, and Eva Cassidy will feel at home here.

The songs are a mix of originals by producer Steve Digman and well chosen covers, including Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” the Beatles’ “Oh Darling,” and the old Felice and Boudleaux Bryant chestnut, “Love Hurts,” first given life by the Everly Brothers in the fifties, then almost killed by Nazareth in the seventies. Davy’s plaintive singing and flute accompaniment to the standard guitar arrangement lend new interest and power to this familiar song.

Among the most successful originals are the bluesy “Happy Hour,” the ballad “Valentines on Christmas Day,” and the title track, “Looking for You.” The playing and production are excellent throughout, and Davy’s vocals meld smoothly with her backing ensemble. As Janine Davy’s career progresses, it will be interesting to hear her take on other songs and songwriters, both classic and contemporary. In the meantime, Looking for You offers a fine introduction to the talents of Janine Davy.

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