7 tracks; 30 minutes
Rebekah Meldrum came to our notice in 2016 with a debut release recorded live at The Slippery Noodle in her home base of Indianapolis. That album was credited to Rebekah and Paul Holdman and, although this time it is Rebekah’s name on the marquee, the band is very much the same: Paul on guitar, David Murray on bass and Kevin Kouts on drums. There are no covers on this short offering, all songs written by Rebekah and Paul. There is also harp on most songs with Patrick Long on two and Tad Robinson on four; Tad also adds vocals to one track on which horns are added (PJ Yinger, trumpet, Richard Dole, trombone).
The opening song “Set Your Soul Free” is a slow-burn tune that runs to almost six minutes. With moody slide and ominous harp work from Tad, Rebekah encourages us to all look inside ourselves and “enjoy the ride” with solid vocals containing the right amount of grit for this style of music. Probably not the solution to the angst of the first song (or a balanced diet) “Whiskey And Wine” is nevertheless a more upbeat listen and finds Rebekah confessing to a taste for the hard stuff, Tad again playing some great harp behind Rebekah’s vocals and Paul’s jagged guitar work. “Far Away” then takes us down a soulful road and Rebekah shows us a slightly different side to her vocals, Patrick Long taking over on the harp and adding a touch of country which is also picked up by Paul, an attractive and different song.
Two songs have a funky undercurrent: Rebekah is striking out on her own and is better off when she “Ain’t Thinking Bout You”, a short song driven by the bass line; a gently funky tune tells us about another independent woman who will make her escape and not be dependent on the “Coat Tails” of others. Between those two songs is arguably the most obvious blues of the set in “Gypsy” which recounts the story of Molly Malone, a dancer/singer traveling the road and living the life of the itinerant musician.
Saving the best till last, “I’m Here” is a fine tune, written about the almost taboo subject of suicide; a portion of the proceeds will be donated to a suicide prevention program. The despair caused by isolation is well captured in the lyrics: Rebekah takes the first verse, Tad the second and they share the third. The simple message is that you do not need to feel alone, there are friends who are there for you. Tad’s distinctive vocals are a personal favorite and he is superb here, as is guitarist Paul whose gentle chords fit the mood perfectly. To top things off there is a New Orleans style horn arrangement on the coda which accentuates the gospel feel of the song.
In a sense it is a shame that the disc only runs to thirty minutes but the quality is high with good songs well played. All this bodes well for further releases by Rebekah and her team.