Nikka Costa Pebble to a Pearl

Nikka Costa Pebble to a Pearl
Nikka Costa has always been lost in the shuffle. Whether being overshadowed by Amy Winehouse (with whom she shared producer Mark Ronson) or being signed to Virgin (which woefully under-promoted her last two albums), mainstream acceptance and acclaim have eluded Costa. Co-produced with hubby Justin Stanley and released on the re-launched Stax label, Pebble to a Pearl allows Costa to go for broke, in turn offering her best set to date. There's a refreshing analog-soaked atmosphere on the upbeat Stax-/Volt-inflected opener "Stuck to You" that sets the template for the rest of the album. Session vets like James Gadson, J.J. Johnson and James Poyser contribute throughout but it's Costa's full-throated, uninhibited and authoritative vocal delivery that dominates on the strutting music industry kiss-off of "Keep Wanting More" and the positive thinking jam "Keep Pushing." For those that have slept on Nikka Costa, Pebble to a Pearl is the perfect wake-up call. (Stax)