Davina and the Vagabonds Black Cloud

Davina and the Vagabonds Black Cloud
Minnesota-based singer/pianist Davina Sowers has come up with an entertaining disc. Her soulful voice has elicited Amy Winehouse and Etta James comparisons, and she shows genuine songwriting talent. This is her fourth album, but first featuring all-original material. The refreshingly diverse songs draw from elements of blues, jazz, soul, gospel and jump-swing (on "Start Runnin'"), all in convincing fashion. The Vagabonds have an interesting instrumental line-up, featuring upright bass, piano, drums, trumpet and trombone. This gives something of a New Orleans feel to tunes like "Vagabond Stomp" (the jaunty instrumental that opens and closes the album), the title cut and soulful tour de force "River." You can bet this stuff would go over great live (the band are festival favourites), but Black Cloud stands up on its own merits. (Roustabout)