Natalia Zukerman makes music that lithely slips between genres with the ease of a pantheress pursuing wayward children she's groomed to be exactly as they are. Nominally folk, there's a good deal of modern subdued blues, tangential bluegrass, rustic soul, soft rock, and even jazz. She's on the increasingly influential Fleming Artists management roster, which has brought such unique acts as Ryan Montbleau (here), Garnet Rogers (here), Guggenheim Grotto (here and here), the estimable Tom Paxton (here), and a stunning line-up of others. She's far from outclassed among these riveting musicians, having bona fides to stand with the best. In more than one way, Zukerman's carrying forth what Joy of Cooking started so long ago.
Smoky is the adjective crits have favored her voice with, and it's hard to argue, though there's plenty of slinky life in her delivery—Natalia just doesn't have to shout or scream to get across, nor is her guitar playing (including slide) anything to sneeze at. Of curious note is the elastic Melissa Ferrick (here)…playing a flugelhorn!…along with a bunch of other seasoned vets, Willy Porter and David Adler chiefest among them. The ensemble erects a cross between prairie nights and jazz lounge that's heady while as open as the Great Plains.
You might have noted her surname. The singer's the daughter of world-famed violinist Pinchas Zukerman and was, early in her artistic decision-making, highly influenced in witnessing another classicalist violin legend, Nigel Kennedy, playing fiddle in a bluegrass band. The incongruity of his rebellious slumming with ground level musicians kinda woke her up. This is Zukerman's fourth CD, and if the other three were anywhere near the quality of this one, then…"whew!". The first surprise is that she isn't supporting big name acts or headlining; the second is that she's a muralist and music label owner for the workaday side of her life—in other words, a fully invested artist. It shouldn't be long before all of that pays off big.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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