Groovelily is a little bit of folk, jazz, smooth R&B, pop, and jam band all wrapped up together. The band is fronted by singer and electric volin player Valerie Vigoda, who has toured with Joe Jackson and Cyndi Lauper. She is a classically trained musician, former army lieutenant, and an honors graduate of Princeton! She co-writes much of the material with keyboardist and vocalist Brendan Milburn. Gene Lewin's drumming rounds out the band. Even though Groovelily is just these three, it often sounds like a much richer, larger band.
Just the Three of Us is their third full length album and their first live CD. The CD was recorded at three shows in Vienna, Virginia and Old Lyme, Connecticut in early 2002. The thirteen tracks are reminiscent of Bruce Hornsby or Dave Matthews Band led by Paula Cole.
The album opens with Shannon, a celtic-flavored duet between an Irishman fleeing persecution (sung by Milburn) and the river Shannon (sung by Vigoda), into which he makes his escape. The mid-song crescendo, fueled by Vigoda's violin makes this a particularly powerful song. Other standout tracks are Raindance and Phantom Love, which feature fierce electric violin work and funky drumming. Milburn gets to show off his fingerwork on The Man is Gone.
Sitting on the Fence is a humorous Latin-tinged montuno that tells the story of free, but thin, horses on one side of the fence who have no shelter or food supply during the winter, and the comparatively "wealthy" domesticated horses on the other side, who must face the riding crop and saddle in exchange for their relative comfort.
The comparisons between Paula Cole and Vigoda are too apparent in Little Light, which sounds thematically like Cole's Ordinary: "I see all the other torches lighting up the night. I am right here with my matches burning bright. And no one needs my little light."
I had never heard of Groovelily before, and their CD was recommended to me by David Pyles. After a few listens of their CD, it is clear that they are something very special. Their niche is truly their own.
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