The city of New
Orleans doesn’t just shape great singers and musicians; the
place is so musical it seems to begin the training of young
native talent even in the womb.
Take the case of Tara
Darnell. While still a toddler, the youngster would amuse
friends and family by mounting performances anywhere and
everywhere, using anything handy, a jump-rope handle or an
inverted screwdriver, as her make-believe microphone.
Today, there’s no more
needing to make believe for Tara Darnell; one listen to this
powerhouse debut recording and it becomes instantly clear, this
girl was born to sing!
Dynamic and forceful
only begin to describe her gospel-forged style, and proving
she’s no shrinking violet, this thrilling vocalist has chosen to
open her debut recording with a composition all her own, “Let It
Shine,” professing her faith and commitment in a full-blown,
no-holds-barred gospel arrangement.
on a half-dozen jazz standards follow (“God Bless the Child,”
“All of Me,” “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?”
and “Summertime” among the standouts), before transitioning to
funk-drive back-up on a couple of R&B sizzlers (“The Thrill Is
Gone” and “Ain’t No Sunshine”).
The program closes
with the singer’s self-penned tribute to her daughter, “I’ll Be
Here for You (Tierra’s Song)”, and a stunning solo and piano
rendition of “Amazing Grace,” before exiting with a rocking
“Gospel Medley” of old-time spirituals that both recalls the
great Mahalia Jackson, the original gospel queen of New Orleans,
and reaffirms Tara Darnell’s roots in church-based music and
spirit-driven musical inspiration.
It’s a perfect ending
to a stunning, sizzling, and spiritually infused debut