A review written for Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange
by Shawn Linderman
While the quantity is sparse (only 33 minutes), the quality of songs on Laura Bowly's Lovin' by the Rules is rich and varied. This happens on all levels: instrumentation, vocals, story lines. Blues, jazz, funk, pop-- all flavor this eclectic collection of tunes from her heart and her pen. The tracks:
Who I Answer To - jazzy sax launches the CD. Laura defends living your life your own way. The abrupt finish surprises and grabs attention.
Lovin' by the Rules - this funky tune features nice Smokey Robinson-like scat singing by Bowly. An interesting portrayal of differences of opinion on proper expressions of love.
The One You Need to Love - a slow, pretty love song. The singer calls for her lover to be there and hold her when she's confused and lost and feeling the urge to run.
Shine on Me - with a bouncy beat and bubbly flute, Bowly exposes her optimistic view on love- while acknowledging love might lead to hurt, she still chooses to revel in its light.
Down - with down-n-dirty blues harmonica, funky sax and syncopated beat, Laura wails the fall when life gets the best of you.
My Mountain - stately and majestic guitar guides the listener to the songwriter's inner self. This song is Laura's presentation of the same theme as found in Simon & Garfunkle's I Am a Rock.
I Don't Want It - this is a rhythmic toe-tapper with bluegrass fiddle work that, while smooth and fluid, doesn't interfere with the bounciness-and what Laura doesn't want any more is love.
Billy - another funky, uptone number about a boy whose life has been hard and who is bursting to make a new start. Lush instrumentation on this song includes piano and sax.
I'll Never Go - spotlight on electric guitars for this soft rocker.
It's Gonna Be Okay - the pretty flute lead-in and support to guitar give richness to this song about needing kind encouragement when things haven't gone your way.
The disc concludes with a reprise of Who I Answer To.
Laura Bowly's voice falls somewhere between Les Sampou and Lynne Taylor, which is rich and fertile soil. From it has grown a dynamic set of tunes that promises a harvest of plenty for all. Lovely voice, varied styles; Lovin' by the Rules is an excellent work.
Edited by Kerry Dexter