ALL ABOUT VOCALS
COUNTRY MEETS JAZZ IN A CROSSOVER HYBRID
by John Gaddis
Deborah Silver, Glitter & Grits (NTL Records, 2020)
Partnering with the master of Texas swing, Ray Benson of Asleep of the Wheel and his cast of immensely talented 10x-GRAMMY-winning swingers, jazz vocalist Deborah Silver steps forth an authentic country-jazz offering titled Glitter & Grits. On the heels of her chart-topping album, The Gold Standards. Produced by Steve Tyrell with arrangements by Alan Broadbent, the album reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Albums chart while also sitting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and in the No. 2 slot on the Jazz Albums chart.
So, what does Glitter & Grits offer, “I’ve Got Rhythm” is given a barrelhouse feel with an authentic 20s swing feel. The first form is taken with reverence to the original melody, the second form, Silver adds in her own phrasing adding a lilt to the arrangement, guest vocalist Katie Shore and Elizabeth McQueen add backing vocals that meld together seamlessly. The horn sections add backgrounds that complement Silver’s phrasing adding up to a fun kick-up your heels tune.
The classic tune “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore” is a well-worn standard Silver adds a je ne sais quoi of seduction with a loping pace that savors her thoroughly imbued vocal quality. An additive of harmonica adds to the sass of her delivery, provided by longtime Willie Nelson collaborator Mickey Raphael.
The album traverses a wide range of Texas swing, a not to be missed “Ballin the Jack,” which features producer Benson. The two have an evident camaraderie in their reading. As Benson calls it, jazz with a cowboy hat, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” is a befitting ending to a fun frolicking album. Once again, Mickey Raphael lends his mastery to the tune. Not to be missed is the fiddle solo provided by Wheel’s, Dennis Ludiker, who also plays mandolin on the cut. A definitive win throughout, a hybrid of jazz with Texas swing in its heart.