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Homespun: Uvee Hayes 

Play Something Pretty
(CDS Records)

Singer Uvee Hayes has mastered the easy cadences and vocal seductions of the blues. But Play Something Pretty showcases her abilities as a stylistic chameleon; she also dabbles in light funk, modern R&B and vocal jazz. Still, Hayes is best when singing jazz and blues with a live band behind her, as she does on "Reconsider Baby" and the harmonica-aided "Built for Comfort." The lush, starlit orchestration of the Willie Nelson classic "Funny How Time Slips Away" saps some of the song's venom, although the slow build of the horn section helps bring back the fire. In fact, Pretty suffers when modern keyboards replace horn sections. In the long tradition of barely coded raunch in blues songs, "Maintenance Man" finds Hayes looking for a fellow who's good with his hands. However, the electronic drums and bright synth pads don't quite fit the wink-wink nature of the song; this slicker production style that especially kills the groove on Pretty's second half. The album also runs a tad too long — with seventeen songs and a run time of 72 minutes, it's easy to hear where certain songs could be cut or, better yet, saved for a second album.

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o The Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail for more information.

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