Simone Stevens Right On Time Self-Release

Know to some via her vocal contribution to Fiery Blue, a trio of writer Paul Marsteller, musician Gabe Rhodes and Stevens as vocalist. Right On Time sees her stepping up front and centre to deliver some of her largely self written folk-pop songs. They are warm and attractive songs that utilize a wide range of instruments including at times, cello, clarinet, sax, pedal steel and guitar. This is all topped by Stevens versatile voice which has elements of 60s stylings rather than the over-cooked of many of today's dynamic divas. The production is shared by Stevens and Nadim Isa and again those touches of that earlier era are apparent but underplayed as to never fall into pastiche. Listening to the album I was at times reminded of Tift Merritt, another strong vocalist, especially on the title track, which is actually the only song that Stevens didn't have a hand in writing. It is a Lucinda Williams song which Stevens makes her own. A piano-based ballad it highlights her vocal skills in a tender and tells a story in fleeting glimpses of detail of a loving relationship. However that shouldn't diminish her own writing rather it shows how she can take another writers words and give them her own interpretation. The final track, for instance, tells a relationship that has perhaps run its course with  her checking her partners temperature and it is below zero - a cold, cold heart. But Right On Time is anything but cold and while it may not be considered country or even country-pop it has some elements of that mixed among its hybrid influences. The end result is a striking debut that will make Simone Stevens a contender.