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Barbara Nesbitt - The Bees (Self Release)

Star rating: 

Second solo album release from Georgia-born, San Diego-based singer-songwriter Barbara Nesbitt, whose strong assured vocal delivery dominates this collection of a dozen original compositions and just the one cover, Boudleaux Bryant's timeless Like Strangers, previously known through the singing of the Everly Brothers and Emmylou Harris. With a steady musical development that has seen terms with such diverse bands as Rare Daze, Cradle and The Perpetrators, together with an impressive solo debut in 2007, A MILLION STORIES, Nesbitt appears to have found her stride as a solo performer. Produced by Jeff Berkley, THE BEES demonstrates a fully developed personal style, which deserves to be brought to further attention.    

With a core band of Marcia Claire on bass and baritone guitar (Citizen Band, Cindy Lee Berryhill), Bill Coomes on drums (Deadline Friday, The Grams) and Mike Spurgat on lead guitar (Citizen Band, Deadline Friday), the album also includes contributions from Dennis Caplinger, who takes care of banjo, Dobro, mandolin and high strung guitar. Doug Pettibone provides some tasty pedal steel, lap steel and mini 12 string guitar, whilst Jeff Berkley adds rhythm guitar to his production duties. 

These musicians more than adequately flesh out the songs with some startling instrumental fills, particularly Caplinger's fiddle on Losin' Time and the guitar work on The Big Picture, not to mention the clever Dobro buzzing sound effects on the intro to the title song. Without dwelling too much on the puns, THE BEES is reportedly creating a buzz Stateside and there is no reason why Barbara Nesbitt shouldn't be doing some overdue cross pollination over here (musically speaking). As far as I'm concerned, she's the bee's knees.

Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky