Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae (Goodgroove / EMI)

SXSW Records

Corinne Bailey Rae

(Goodgroove/EMI)

It doesn't take long to fall under the entrancing spell of this young English chanteuse. Literally, from the first mellifluous notes of "Like a Star" that open this debut, it's apparent that Corinne Bailey Rae possesses an extra-special voice. Caressingly soulful and unpretentiously sublime, it's an instrument that offers hints of Norah Jones, Lauryn Hill, Sade, and even Billie Holiday, while retaining a uniqueness that's hard to ignore. Rae's already a sensation in her native country, where the album's first single, the irresistibly catchy "Put Your Records On," has been a smash hit since its release late last year, and she's been playing to sold-out venues from her hometown of Leeds across the UK. Eleven originals flow upon carefully crafted musical beds that run the gamut from gentle neo-soul and funky R&B to fluffy pop and down-tempo electronica. At their best, her vocals soar with an effortless grace that clearly transcend any limitation that musical genres may artificially impose. Rae's running in a decidedly crowded field, and only time will tell if speculation of her impending success reaches fruition. In the meantime, this debut is nothing short of delightful. (Thursday, March 16, 7:45pm @ Austin Music Hall; Thursday, March 16, 1am @ 18th Floor at Capitol Place)

***

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