"Trouble From the Start"
Like a lot of contemporary singer-songwriters, Lisa Moscatiello draws on a wide variety of influences -- folk, pop, rock, R&B, jazz, even opera. But unlike many of her peers, she never sounds as if she's merely indulging a whim.
"Trouble From the Start" is yet another reminder of her impressive talent and range. Her voice is its own reward, lithe and expressive, and her eclectic tastes keep things interesting as she moves from the sunny pop charmer "Feel the Love" to the achingly homesick ballad "Exile" to the sultry jazz gem "You're Crying." The cover tunes also include a welcome reprise of the Jerry Butler R&B hit "Brand New Me," a lovely, Italian-language rendering of Pino Donaggio's reverie "Come Sinfonia," and Bev Stanton's atmospheric rocker "Ashtray." As for Moscatiello's songwriting, the two tunes she composed here with Stanton find her casting melancholic spells, first with the album's title track, then with "What Happens After Love?"
She's doesn't accomplish this alone, of course. Accompanying Moscatiello on the album is a versatile cast of Washington-based musicians, including keyboardist Harry Appelman and drummer Robbie Magruder. Jon Nazdin's upright bass, Phil Mathieu's acoustic guitar and Fred Lieder's cello help sustain the intimacy, and several tracks benefit from electric guitarist Erik Wenberg's colorful contributions. Dedicated to Washington jazz vocalist Pam Bricker, who died in February, the album closes on a tender, Bricker-like note with Karl Straub's "Now You're Back in Love Again."
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Monday at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church in Rockville.