Laura Welland seems to be one of those multi-talented people who can accomplish any task she tackles, including engineering, playing the trumpet and learning the bass from none other than John Clayton. Once Clayton found out that she could sing too -- but of course she could, and play piano too -- he worked with Welland to produce her first CD. Possibly, Welland has found her niche as a vocalist after her artistic search for self identification, forLove Is Never Out Of Season has been well received since it was released. With good reason.
Laura Welland is without pretense. She doesn't pretend to be a scat singer or a vocal improviser. She is who she is. Welland stays fairly close to the melody on most of the songs, though she does fill in rests with her own phrasing on occasion. With an affecting voice that possesses an inherent sense of swing, possibly from her earlier bass playing, Welland comes across as honest, her voice an aural indication of the personality forming it. Some of the press material compares her to Irene Kral or Rosemary Clooney -- and I might add, Susannah McCorkle -- but the comparisons aren't entirely apt because they don't distinguish the differences in personalities. Welland's is one of unforced fun in the act of singing, understanding the lyrics of the songs before she sings them. While Kral may have chosen the wackiness of a Dave Frishberg song, and McCorkle too for that matter, Welland, from all indications on Love Is Never Out Of Season, Welland will have none of that. She stays true to the spirit of love, with its complications, dreaminess and absurdities, delivered in a straightforward manner made plain by the songwriters.
On the one hand, Welland comes across sweetly and ruefully with "When I Grow Too Old To Dream," including its lilting verse. On the other, she interprets "Honeysuckle Rose" conversationally and coquettishly over Clayton's bass lines. "While We're Young" is sung hesitantly at first, as if the meaning of the words were considered after their singing before it moves into a jazz waltz÷and thena straight four swing. Much credit for the success of this CD goes to Welland's excellent backup group, particularly pianists Bill Mays and Larry Fuller who add color to the songs while staying out of Welland's way, the mark of top-notch accompanists. Love Is Never Out Of Season is the kind of CD that isn't heard so often, now that some of the best-known song stylists are no longer with us. With the encouragement of this CD's success behind her, it may be hoped that Welland records again, keeping alive no-nonsense crafting of songs that affect listeners on many levels.