Robin Stone
"RushMore"

(She Loves You Records 2003)Robin Stone - RushMore

With her sophomore release, singer/songwriter Robin Stone offers twelve of her songs and one cover ("Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye and James Nyx) in her jazzy, funky, easy listening style. And while her album will not appeal to serious rock fans, anyone who is sick of hearing the same old twenty year old songs on their local easy listening radio station may want to take notice of "Rushmore."

Opening with "No Fool," Stone offers a mid tempo groove driven song that is on the quiet side, a relatively strong opener. Oddly "No Fool" is heard again, as the penultimate track (which is odd for another reason because the album backtracks to an acoustic "No Fool" then goes forward for the final track which is not an "extra"), in a, much preferred, acoustic version. The album's title track retains the quiet, mellow sound and uses a nice and simple melody to get your attention by not overdoing. The bluesy, country pop of "Piece 'O Summer" tries too hard to be fun with its up beat and poppy tune and lyrics about drinking beer in bars, playing guitar and "enjoying the sound of the summer time."

Stone appeals the most when she does what comes easiest to her, and judging by the fact that a majority of the songs sound like "Bury Me," "Black & White" and "Her," that should be an indicator. The stripped down "Bury Me" focuses on Stone's vocals with minimal instrumentation while "Black & White" and "Her" are catchier and more appealing with their melodies and instrumentation. Songs like the funkier "Threes" and softer "Separated" seem tailor made for easy listening radio with their memorable and likable sound. Stone's cover of "Inner City Blues" is respectable while the smooth jazz horns on "What You Feel" are not the most listener-engaging. "Who will save your soul/When it comes down to the wire now," Stone sings on "Down To The Wire" in a line whose melody reminds of Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul."

Jazzy and funky, Robin Stone just might get your attention after a couple listens with some of the tracks on "Rushmore." The album is interesting in that, while a solo album, Stone does not focus on her own vocalizing or making lines a challenge to sing nor does she focus on including attention grabbing instrumental solos. Stone knows her vocal range and produces smooth vocals on "Rushmore" with soft music that flows nicely.

B-

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