“Songwriter and vocalist Wendy Waller presents “Traces of Grace” (Auggie Dog Records), a disc comprised of both original songs and songs that were penned by a talented group of writers whose music seems to fit Waller’s vocal vision. Pairing folksy vocals with blues-tinged instrumentals, Waller sings her heart out from the very first note to the last and the music featured in this disc allows her to do just that. Traces of Grace is energetic and passionate in some places and cool and earthy in others. Waller sounds as though she loves what she does and that comes through in every song. Her confident smile is audible and that makes the listening easy.
Some of her best performances come through on the disc’s opening numbers, “Get it Right,” and “Trace of Your Heart,” both of which were written by Waller. “Time of the Season” has Waller singing beautifully in the opening phrasing with beautiful musical accompaniment while the Smokey Robinson and the Miracles tune, “I Like it Like That,” is almost unrecognizable after Waller strips it of its soul component and re-infuses it with bits of country and blues.
The music featured on Traces of Grace is as vital to the sound of the disc as are the vocals. Both rely on the other for the songs to be successful and that works to Waller’s benefit. The exceptional musicianship of her supporting cast makes good songs sound better. The two are in sync, providing each with the opportunity to influence and support the direction the disc takes without the unnecessary extras. Where Waller belts, the music bows. Where the music grooves, the vocals glide.
Waller is a singer’s singer and Traces of Grace is a singer’s recording. Every note that she hits and every word that she sings is an offering of Waller’s heart and soul. Take it or leave it.”
Bridget Arwine / Jazz Police