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Blue Light – Jude Johnstone

Blue Light - Jude Johnstone Artist: Jude Johnstone
Album: Blue Light
Release Date: August 21, 2007
Duration: 43:34
Genre: Pop/Rock
Recording Date: 1983

An artist does not have to be jazz-oriented to benefit from jazz artistically. That has certainly been the case with Joni Mitchell; it has also been true of Rickie Lee Jones, Sade, Norah Jones, the Doors, Sting and many others who made their mark in rock, pop or R&B but enriched their work by having a jazz influence.

And on Blue Light, jazz is an attractive ingredient for singer/songwriter Jude Johnstone even though it is not the CD’s main ingredient. Evaluating this 2007 release by straight-ahead jazz standards would be unfair because that isn’t where Johnstone is coming from; Blue Light is essentially a pop/rock-adult alternative album, but it is a pop/rock-adult alternative album that is definitely mindful of jazz and torch singing. Even though Johnstone (who wrote or co-wrote all of the songs) has more in common with Rickie Lee Jones stylistically than she does with Sheila Jordan or Abbey Lincoln, there is no overlooking the amount of jazzy torchiness that she brings to originals like “Paper Doll” (not to be confused with the song that the Mills Brothers recorded in 1942), “New York Morning” and “Losin’ Hand.” Blue Light is dominated by new material, but the exception to that rule is the melancholy bonus track “Over and Done” (which was recorded back in 1983). Hearing “Over and Done” alongside the other songs, one can hear that Johnstone’s voice hasn’t changed much in 24 years; the Johnstone of 2007 has a nasal vocal style much like the Johnstone of 1983. It’s a voice that takes some getting used to, but it’s also a voice that can easily grow on the listener, especially considering the consistently high quality of her writing on Blue Light.

Title/Composer Performer Time
Blue Light / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 2:40
That’s Why I’m Leavin’ You / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:13
Best Friend / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:24
New York Morning / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:09
Never Been the Same / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 4:52
Good Guy / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 4:33
I’ll Believe You / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:26
Paper Doll / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 4:18
Losin’ Hand / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:38
Quittin’ Time / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:28
Walk Away / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:45
Over and Done / Jude Johnstone Jude Johnstone 3:08
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