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... a guilty pleasure

Life is a tradeoff. I sit here, desk overflowing with CDs I should write about, investing precious time to a musician and an album I want to write about and, well, there goes my chance for the Pulitzer. Kelly Flint is neither global warming nor does she fit within the accepted range of sensationalism needed to warrant paparazzi-type attention. Her lone solo CD, Drive All Night, was released in 2007 and garnered little press. A superstar she is not, nor a groundbreaker, and yet every time I hear her album, which is often, I want to write... something... sometimes anything... because outside of New York City, she gets all too little respect and, well, to put it in the vernacular, it just ain't right.

True story: Flint has spent the last few years fronting a lounge jazz act called, ironically enough, Dave's True Story, which during that time has become pretty much mainstays at NYC's famed The Living Room. Her voice is perfect for guitarist Dave Cantor's tunes, bassist Jeff Eyrich laying out the smooth bottom line. While they can play the standards and play them well, their audience usually prefers the swinging originals, as this performance shows.

Upon receiving her solo album, though, I was pleasantly surprised by a side not shown in her work with DTS--- a singer/songwriter side which, at first, intrigued and later dug under the skin. It began with a simple tune--- Cartoon, in fact--- an unassuming but disarming look at love from the screen of a TV. It is a great analogy when you think about it. Lines like ?...where the guy falls off the cliff... and he's flat? and ?... I'll pull off your beak and you'll be wearing a cheap cowboy suit? sound odd when spoken, but then she sings them and oh, man. From there, it was Never Unless, a pretty melody over a beautiful and light backup; Drive All Night, the most commercial of the lot, upbeat and tripping on the edge of country; The Letter, 1974, a musical letter to a missing father from an alone and distraught daughter; Deep Freeze, a slow and bluesy song of hurt, the Wurlitzer providing mood and more; and even the cover of the Moody Blues' Story In Your Eyes, presented so personally that it barely resembles the original.

One by one, the songs worked their way into my psyche until they became part of my hard drive. Out of nowhere and at any time any one of them can pop into my head and, unlike some others, it makes a bad day good or a good day better. It is personal, too. I don't play Kelly Flint when friends are around. It's not the music, but the possibility that they won't hear what I hear and I just don't want to chance it. In my younger days when I was working in records, one of the guys I worked with took off a Cowboy album to hear the Eagles. Things were never the same between us after that. No, I have too few friends left as it is. I would rather keep Kelly Flint my one guilty pleasure.

Frank O Gutch Jr.

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