Hope is both the title of the latest CD from Louise Cappi and the lead single from it. In these days when hope seems far away for many, it’s an ambitious idea to run with, but a good one. The CD cover art shows her holding a traditional blue and white road name sign, standing in front of a multi-coloured mural.
Hope, the album was released on September 10th, 2021 and has nine tracks, made in Louise’s trademark mix of jazz, blues, soul and funk. Just what you’d expect from a singer-songwriter who is the daughter of Al Cappi, the respected New York jazz guitarist. Having started her career in New York, Louise has now swapped the Big Apple for the Big Easy, living, performing and recording in New Orleans.
She is popular worldwide, and her music has been reviewed in places as diverse as Australia and Belgium, as well as all over the United States.
Hope, the album opens with the storytelling tune Happy Place. A Hammond organ burbles in the background and there are sound effects (including car horns and a dog barking) as well as Louise’s upbeat blues-jazz vocals. The song lists some of the places where she has been happy including driving and walking on the beach. It’s very easy to imagine this song being performed live in front of an appreciative audience.
Keep that Dream Alive encourages the listener not to give up, but to ‘wipe off those tears and face down your fears’ while The DQ Guy is a jazzy number recounting the love affair between a woman and an ice cream parlor employee who brings home a couple of pints of the frozen treat every night, and has been known to feed her soft serve in bed. It showcases the guitarist’s dexterity in the bridges and Louise’s cheeky vocals with a minimal backing from her band.
Title track Hope starts quietly with just a tambourine and vocals, then slowly the rest of the band join in, as Louise describes what hope means to her. It’s ‘the steel in your spine’, ‘gives you courage to try again’, ‘hope is the antidote’, among other things. This track has backing singers who appear half way through, adding their counterpoint to the melody.
Only You is a typical jazz love song where Louise sings to an unknown lover ‘I wanna spend my life with you, baby’. She doesn’t mind the signs of aging, she’s quite happy with her beloved, wrinkles, gray hairs and all.
On Matter of Time, a slow bluesy number, Louise suggests that the target of her ire will find themselves alone because she is perfectly capable of making it on her own, should they carry on in the way they have been behaving. Many blues songs cover this ground – it’s almost a blues trope – but this one swings with it too, with the organ whirring away in the background and a saxophone solo in the bridge.
She’s Too Tall For You is a new twist on the ex-girlfriend’s moan about her former guy’s new squeeze. It lists the ways in which the new couple are size incompatible. ‘You’re looking her up, she’s staring you down’ describes the situation perfectly. There’s a spoken word intermission where Louise imagines dishing out the advice in person to her short friend, playing on words and with a laugh and a smile in her voice.
The organ makes a reappearance in Talkin Talkin, this time in the form of funky organ stabs in the background during the verses and smooth swirls during the chorus. The album closes with Beautiful Dreams, another slow ballad, perfectly bringing the musical journey of the last 40 minutes to a close.
One review describes Louise Cappi as being ‘in a genre of her own’. She’s definitely someone whose style evokes singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holliday. With a style that is equal parts jazz, blues, soul and funk, Louise has a strong voice and a clear delivery which makes listening to her songs a pleasure. The band backs her sympathetically; there but not overwhelming her, and her range of influences is clear. She’s funny and serious by turns, as can be seen in her performance reel. No wonder she has had so many rave reviews.