Stick a trumpet in Lyle Lovett's guitar-strumming mitts, tune his voice to a baby-doll pitch, and you'll have morphed him into lounge-pop princess Kami Lyle. The horn-fueled, bluesy, Lovett-like groove heard on her major-label debut, Blue Cinderella, is no accident. In fact the album's most soulful tune, "Mr. Trouble," is a percussive paean to the 28-year-old Kami Lyle's elder inspiration.
But the Minneapolis native, a graduate of Boston's esteemed Berklee College of Music, is at her best when she affects a sexier, more personal sound, as she does on "Midnight Club"—which features Kami Lyle's sweet but edgy voice, supported by a dancing bass line and her own muted trumpet—one of 11 songs she wrote for the date.
A little less might have been more, however. Too often her music loses its lounge-lizard allure and falls into trite patterns—as in the overly maudlin "Love Me" and "The Grocery Song," both little more than schoolgirl poetry set to sentimental ivory tinkling. Still, Kami Lyle's amalgam of sophisticated styles generally lends Blue Cinderella a retro charm. She is to jazzy pop what Jewel is to folk rock: a refreshing young voice in a graying genre. (MCA)