Reviewed by Eugenia Vela.
Warning: Do not listen to this album if you’re emotionally unstable. I had to learn the hard way. Not that Oklahoma City singer/songwriter Audra Mae, grand niece of Judy Garland and overnight sensation thanks to Susan Boyle, made a sad or depressing album, but still. It’s got that style—dreary, dreamy, soothing, but yes, an album made more for a rainy day or a pensive mood than an uplifting one.
I’m sad to say The Happiest Lamb (SideOneDummy) is not terribly special or brilliant. Mae’s got a beautiful voice and soulful, bluesy style, but it’s nothing groundbreaking. The good thing about this album is that like any piece of good music, it does affect you—I was having a sad day and this made me even sadder (I sound like such a woman). Hey, not all music can do that.
If there’s one exceptional track in this album, it’s definitely “Snake Bite,” with its powerful story and intriguing lyrics: “just then a gray haired woman/ sat down right next to me/ she heard me cried, looked in my eyes and said baby I got what you need/ you need the snake bite/ and once you get that venom in your veins, you come alive…”
“Bandida” has an incredible sound as well, very mystical and fitting for the rest of Mae’s songs, which contain mostly natural, mythical imagery.
However unremarkable an album, I’ve seen live videos of Audra Mae and know she’s got a long way to go. Such a beautiful voice does not go by unnoticed or unrewarded, and you can tell from The Happiest Lamb that this is just the beginning—just a little bit more of an oomph, and she’s there. However, I hope that in that path she doesn’t derrail and lose her distinguishable style.
Red River rating: 5.0 out of 10