There are many folk singer/song-writers out there overworking their pampered asses to release a couple of hit songs to support their otherwise measly albums.
That is not the case with Alana Davis.
Five years after releasing her incomparable debut album “Blame It On Me,” Davis resurfaces with her sophomoric effort “Fortune Cookies.”
Back in 1997, Davis stirred a bit of controversy covering Ani DiFranco’s politically-heavy “32 Flavors.” DiFranco’s avid fans expressed their fury at Davis’ poppier, chorus-ready version of DiFranco’s staunchly raw anthem. How could a newcomer under a corporate label use a song written by independent and anti-commercialization DiFranco to promote herself on radio and MTV?
The answer is easy ? because she did it better.
The incident overshadowed Davis’ debut album and the beautiful talent behind it. “Blame It On Me” was by far one of the best releases of last decade.
Describing Davis’ genre of music is not that easy. She is the perfect combination of Tracy Chapman and Jewel with a slight pinch of Bill Withers’ mellowness.
“Fortune Cookies” opens with the coffee-shop friendly “Save The Day,” which does not stray far away from her previous release.
Throughout “Cookies” Davis maintains a strong hold on granola folk melodies with songs such as “When You Become King” and the humid “God Of Love.” The low-beat is also assisted with the sad, yet optimistic “I Don’t Care (Lonesome Road).”
However, unlike her first album, “Fortune Cookies” experiments with urban beats without forgetting the folk formula. “Bye Bye” sounds like Nikka Costa’s “Like A Feather” without the overproduction. Davis also revamps Whodini’s “How Many Of Us Have Them (Friends)” into a street-smart tune.
The biggest surprise on the album is “Got This Far,” a song that sticks out because of its reggae beat, yet is anything but a sore thumb. The collection of songs blend into one another, making this a smooth record ? a rarity nowadays.
“I Want You,” the first single released off this album, and “A Chance With You” are inspirational up-tempo numbers. The latter contains one of the most beautiful chorus arrangements I have heard in a long time.
The mastery of vocal integration with melody is clearly demonstrated with the multi-faceted “Under The Rainbow.”
“Fortune Cookies” closes with the remarkable “Easy To Love” which leads to an untitled hidden track and a reminder that true talent, such as Davis, is rare and should be supported.
“Fortune Cookies” is truly an exceptional record ? one that will stand unforgotten.
Al-Qatami can be reached at email@example.com.