Lorraine Devon Wilke

Lorraine Devon Wilke

Lorraine Devon Wilke

Somewhere On The Way

Manitou Records

Before country music became as pretty as fashion models, it had the kind of grit and heartfelt woe that is present on Lorraine Devon Wilke’s debut album. A veteran of the Los Angeles music scene, some might remember her fronting the early-’80s new wave band Devon. Gone are the hairspray and bright outfits, and Wilke certainly doesn’t sing like a post-punk star here. Nevertheless, the emotional honesty of the genre drives her songs. Wilke isn’t scared to open her diary to the world; if these aren’t autobiographical tales, then she must be an outstanding actress to express such sadness so convincingly.

Wilke is looking for love in the all wrong places, as the cliché goes. With “Drowning,” “You Say I Say” and “Comfort Me,” Wilke begins the record with a trio of downbeat numbers elevated by the breathtaking rush of her soulful, blues-y vocals. Lyrically, Wilke is plumbing the depths of despair — however, none of it is depressing. Not once does Wilke sound like she is giving up, letting the black clouds of busted relationships rain over her. Rather, she is questioning, searching for answers and a way to repair the damage. There’s sardonic humor, too: “I know that I’ve got some of my own baggage/But damn…yours could fill a room.”

Melissa Etheridge and Bonnie Raitt are easy comparisons, but Wilke follows a path of her own. This is a woman completely unconcerned about the commercial appeal of her songs, whether or not they’re too long or unhappy for FM radio. She speaks from inside; hear her roar.

Lorraine Devon Wilke: www.lorrainedevonwilke.com

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