Love songs seem to come easy to singer/songwriter and cellist Marika Hughes who freely admits her heart has been broken far too often and those are the emotions that fuel her beguiling compositions. The timbre of her voice – you’ll be reminded of Roberta Flack and Phoebe Snow – is what resonates, along with her soulful cello on New York Nostalgia, a sometimes bittersweet love letter to the city she remembers when she was growing up (her parents once owned a jazz club on the Upper West Side.)  Gil Scott-Heron, pianist Don Pullen and Abbey Lincoln are among her diverse inspirations. Amidst the heartache and happiness are songs with dreamy melodies (“Chapter 4”) and hand-clapping soul (“Click Three Times”), while the flirtatious “No Dancing” slyly blends saucy lyrics (“put me on your to do list”) with slide guitar and low down dirty bass. The polished production captures the album’s innovative sonic textures, but it’s Hughes solid song craft that seduces – her tunes have enough staying power to wonder why other artists aren’t singing them, too. (11 tracks; 47 minutes)

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