Here We Go Again is Canadian singer/songwriter Renee Yoxon's follow-up to 2010's Let's Call It A Day (Self Produced). She teams with pianist/trombonist Mark Ferguson for a dozen original compositions that are refreshingly familiar, meaning they all have a traditional form and mainstream sensibility that softens the blow to even the most stalwart traditionalist deaf to any material composed after 1960.
But new material, this is. From afar, this is a collection of slow- and medium-tempo ballads that have a faint familiarity that is difficult to pin down. "Drinking Coffee" has a whiff of Jackson Browne in its structure (or is it Warren Zevon) and sounds as if Linda Ronstadt would have sung this 30 years previous. Craig Pedersen's pinched trumpet adds just enough jazz to keep things unbalanced, not a bad thing here as it curtails this music's predictability making it at once fresh but not out of reach. The title piece is a lyrically complex waltz that modulates through times and tempi providing the listener something continually new. "Watching" is a delicate pastoral, opened with Joel Kerr's arco bass delicately balanced upon Ferguson's piano. Yoxon's voice is confident and knowing, comfortable and intimate.
Intimate may best describe this recording. Yoxon's writing and voice are clearly out there with no net. Even on the more up-tempo "Just As We Are," Yoxon sings as if telling a humorous secret:
"We make such a pair; we match like a new pair of shoes Why go spoil it all with a pair of "I dos." And We stay just as we are, our love still shiny and new No fuss no fight , stayin up all night, whispering dreamily We should stay just as we are, just you and me..."
"Sao Paulo" is proto-Bossa Nova so fresh and humid, Yoxon's wordless singing equally fresh. the piece, "1-2-3" opens with a jaunty walking bass, Ferguson's trombone doubling with Yoxon's be bop voice that leads into a bit of impressive scat singing. Ferguson's solo is understated and bluesy, contrasting well with Yoxon's voice. Here We Go Again echos the method on Thisbe Vos' Under Your Spell (Self Produced, 2013), one where the mainstream is not forsaken but is tilled into itself making a richer foundation for the newly composed. The music will only grow deeper from such.
Track Listing: So Far; Drinking Coffee; Here We Go Again; Watching; Just Say the Word; Just as We Are; Sao Paulo; Canary; 1-2-3; Have We Been In Love Before; Don’t Go; There’s Only You.
Personnel: Renee Yoxon: vocals; Mark Ferguson: piano, trombone; ; Joel Kerr: bass; Jeff Asselin: drums; Rene Gely: guitar; Craig Pedersen: trumpet; Frank Lozano: saxophone.