Very talented singer and pianist, as well as songwriter, Kandace Springs, really set herself apart as one of those rare once in a lifetime talents and artists that can perfectly blend genres on her very timeless masterpiece sophomore album, Indigo. Which she released nearly a year and a half ago and we all know would be hard to top. While Springs doesn’t top, Indigo, she does give another very timeless album with her just almost a month and a half ago released third album, The Women Who Raised Me.
An album that instead of the mix of Jazz, Soul, R&B and Pop, that we have come to know from the Nashville area artist over her first two albums. Springs goes full on Jazz for her newest album. That sees her honoring and covering over 12 tracks, the women who influenced/inspired her sound as a woman growing up, hence the title. Putting her own twists on songs associated with a dozen of the most iconic and greatest vocalists and artists of all-time. Ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to Roberta Flack, Astrud Gilberto, Sadé, Lauryn Hill, Billie Holiday, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Carmen McRae, Bonnie Raitt, Nina Simone and Dusty Springfield.
The album is one that Springs has wanted, “to make forever.” It’s a very beautifully well put together one that will sooth the soul in these troubling and crazy times we are all currently living in. Something positive, hopeful and inspiring in a time where we all truly need it. With Larry Klein, who previously produced Springs 2016 very timeless masterpiece debut album, Soul Eyes, once again handling production. He along with the band of guitarist Steve Cardenas, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Clarence Penn, who play live on the album. Providing the perfect counterbalance for Springs very beautifully soulful and smooth vocals and piano playing. As she really shows her gift for moving between the iconic legacies and intonations of the vocalists she’s covering, while still staying true to herself.
Starting with the very smoky and sweet vocals that are like fine Tennessee whiskey on album opener, Devil May Care. With a nice bass solo from Christian McBride, who is one of several guests on the album along with Springs. That shows what a truly beautiful, luxurious and melting pot of great music jazz brings not only in good times, but even more so in bad and crazy times like now that gives us all hope, peace and solitude in a time we all truly need it. The very nimbly great piano playing from Springs who seduces with her very lovely smoldering beauty and intoxicating sultry smoking beautiful vocals on the very intoxicating and seducing, Angel Eyes. A duet with one of her biggest influences and inspirations, as well as Blue Note Records labelmate, Norah Jones, finding the two trading smoke-filled vocals/verses of the Ella Fitzgerald cover. By far one of the highlights of the album, which also is one of those records that if you weren’t already a fan of jazz this is one of those records that really will make you truly fall in love with both the genre and Springs as an artist herself too. Her nice little twist of classical to jazz for her cover of, I Put A Spell On You, by the incomparable Simone, with a nice melding of Beethoven’s, Moonlight Sonata. Really quite remarkable and superb with David Sanborn’s fiery alto-sax adding the perfect complimentary touch. That truly takes the beauty and magnificent of her very rousing rendition of the record to a whole other level of greatness.
Lead single, Pearls, a very beautiful rendition of Sadé’s classic of the same name. That features Avishai Cohen on trumpet and really shows off Springs beautifully sensual breathtaking silky smooth vocals with a dash of rawness. That’s so heavenly effortless and a true work of art that’s quite mesmerizing that makes you almost not even realize it’s a cover cause of how she practically makes it her own. Springs really truly showing with, Pearls, what a great multi-talented artist she’s too. That perfectly blending into Springs very nimble, yet extraordinarily beautiful rendition of Lauryn Hill’s, Ex-Factor. That features flutist, Elena Pinderhughes. Before getting even closer to the midway point of the album, where Springs gives by far one of the albums most standout performances with her very beautifully gorgeous enchanting rendition of Bonnie Raitt’s, I Can’t Make You Love Me. Really showing off her genuinely natural tonality with such ease and comfort in a time we all really need it. That feels like it was custom built for Springs with how easily she let’s her genuinely beautiful vocals hit so with each loving note. That you can really feel each note in every beautifully gorgeous note she sings.
Just when you think that Springs can’t out due herself too. She proves she can with the very airy and beautiful pure nimble tone of, Gentle Rain. Springs very beautifully sultry pure rendition of Gilberto’s, The Gentle Rain, that also keeps the originals seductive charm also featuring a very beautiful alto-sax performance from Chris Potter. Sprinkled perfectly in between the singer’s very charming and soothingly smooth pure vocals. That then perfectly segues into what’s easily if not the best record on the album. Easily one of the top two or three records with the very reflective and deeply resonating, Solitude. That’s Springs very remarkable rendition of Carmen McRae’s classic that was first made famous by the great Duke Ellington. With her luscious silky smooth honey vocals perfectly complimented by Potter’s sax playing yet again. As Springs very reflective melancholy vocals/lyrics are brought even more to life, so amazing and beautifully. That then perfectly seguing into her very beautiful rendition of Jones, The Nearness of You. That’s as jazzy as you can really get for a standard of jazz standards. With Springs giving one of her biggest influences in Norah Jones record quite the beautiful enchanting compliment of both her beautifully smooth vocals to go with her just as beautiful piano playing. That should definitely make Jones proud.
By the time we reach the final three closing records of the album, Springs really shows even more why this is such a timeless classic amazing masterpiece album that will be remembered for years and generations to come. As not only one of the best albums of this decade, but possibly one of the standard great jazz albums of all-time. Starting with Springs very deeply moving rendition of Dusty Springfield’s classic, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? Where she really shows off her simply beautiful vocals and perfectly beautifully complimentary piano playing. For this very beautiful deeply moving and mournful melody. That really hits home even more for so many right now and why it’s arguably the best record on the whole album. While Springs underappreciated great rendition of Roberta Flack’s classic, Killing Me Softly With His Song. That was later made even more famous with Hill and the Fugees rendition, Killing Me Softly. With Pinderhughes flute the perfect complement to Springs truly fantastic and beautifully nimble vocals on the record. Before closing out with a very warm and truly beautiful rendition of Billie Holiday’s very gut-wrenching timeless, Strange Fruit. That Springs with her very silky-smooth honey vocals and just as beautifully complimentary piano playing really brings to life as by far one of the true highlights of the album. With the singer’s warm embrace rather than the original gut-wrenching feel and lyrics of the original. To go with the truly great beautiful feel of Springs beautiful piano playing as she sings the very warmly embracing lyrics. The perfect way to close such a timeless amazing masterpiece album that truly shows there really is truly great and very talented artists and vocalists in this generation. Who in Springs will be remembered for several generations to come as not only among the best of their own generation, but some of the best vocalists and pianists of all-time when all is said and done.