On vocalist Michelle Conte’s debut CD, "Lucky Me!," the newcomer offers straight-forward interpretations of first-rate material.
She has a nice-and-easy approach to songs by Gershwin, Mercer and Strayhorn.
Conte lives and performs in the San Francisco Bay Area. She’s the sister of guitarist Mark Elf, who produced the new album.
Conte had called Elf and told him that she wanted to make a recording for her family and friends in her living room using home-recording equipment. Elf told her if she was going to make a record, she should do it right.
He assembled a band of leading New York musicians, and Conte joined them on the East Coast to make the CD. With Elf and the others behind her, Conte has made an album that is far from a home recording.
"I don’t do a local of vocal gymnastics," she says in the liner notes. "I love the songs as written and so I sing a tune straight up." As a result, Conte doesn’t scat, moan or add a lot of useless embellishment to a song. Instead, she’s more of a throwback to the days of the band singer. She's someone who sings the melody and focuses on the lyrics.
"Lucky Me!" doesn’t blaze any new trails. It wasn’t meant to. It’s meant to be a new collection of old songs that aren’t heard enough these days.
Highlights of the 15-track CD are "Until The Real Thing Comes Along" and "I Thought About You."