China Forbes - 78‘78
China Forbes
Heinz Records

Pink Martini lead singer Forbes will surprise many, as this recording in no way resembles her work with the PM orchestra. With an obvious nod to Sheryl Crow and other singer/songwriters of that ilk (Gregg Williams- who has worked with Crow- produced this record), Ms Forbes sets out to carve a musical niche of her own. And, while it is an expertly recorded project, Forbes fails to generate much heat with this outing, which features a dozen of her original songs.

The productions are better than the songs. Highlights include Eric Earley’s (Blitzen Trapper) send up of George Harrison‘s, “My Sweet Lord” slide guitar intro on “Everybody Needs Somebody.” “Gone” is an affecting uptempo ballad, somewhat reminiscent of Aimee Mann’s work. “I‘m still Talking To You” has its moments. But her remake of the Martinis’ “Hey Eugene” (which she penned) is just as monotonous as the original- with nothing much new to add to the repetitive riff of the first version.

It is admirable that China Forbes wants to spread her wings and break away from her position as the Champagne Chanteuse of Portland. But, for the most part, her songs fail to measure up to the sterling production. She has a nice voice, but not distinctive. There is really nothing here to set her apart from a jillion other female singer/songwriters.

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