Hotel Café’ (Hollywood)
Concert Reflections and Photographs by A. Scott Galloway
With no verbal introduction but instead a cool driving bass/drums groove that lures her to the stage like a lovely moth to a flame, singer/songwriter/keyboardist Kandace Springs stepped into the light a tall, confident and dazzling drink of something sparkling. Flashing a smile and striking a playful diva pose, she immediately sat down to her keyboard, politely introduced herself and where she’s from (Nashville, Tennessee), then commenced to gettin’ busy, speaking of pending revolutions and the masses being far from ready.
“Why it gotta be like that, why it gotta be / Why it gotta be like that / Some dreams will live and some will die…”
She delivers the missive still smiling but with a glint of grit and in a voice of sugar- coated strength. “Novocaine Heart” is the name of that tune. Don’t forget it.
As she slips into the lovely mid-tempo glide “Talk to Me,” it is apparent she’s primed herself for this moment. Her poise is magnificent, her piano chops formidable and her voice a natural spring of effortless and sincere soul, dripping like Tupelo honey. When her keyboard goes out suddenly, she doesn’t miss a beat, moseying on over to the acoustic in the corner where she throws down some double-fisted juke joint licks solo.
She then slayed us all softly with a tender reading of jazz pianist Mal Waldron’s “Soul Eyes,” the John Coltrane inspired title track of her new first full-length CD and the song she claims as her favorite on it. Her mic control was breathtaking, making every syllable an invitation to pull in closer.
Next she flipped her Yamaha to Wurlitzer mode and grooved us with “Thought It Would Be Easier” (which featured a tight upright bass solo) then “Neither Old Nor Young” from the pen of Jesse Harris, who gave Norah Jones her first hit with “Don’t Know Why” – the two of them being the very influences that sparked Springs to pursue the music life (thank you). I couldn’t help feeling that there was a Brenda Russell tone to Kandace’s voice on this song live as well as on the CD. That number made a natural segue into the standard “The Nearness of You,” Norah’s version again being the influence for Springs and she nailed it with southern nights dreaminess to spare. This led into her second confessed favorite song on Soul Eyes, “Place to Hide” on which she detoured to show some love to Chopin.
Kandace’s near perfect outing closed with the only misstep, a version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” made famous in the early `70s by the great Roberta Flack who truly knew how to milk the sensuous lyric and slow as molasses tempo. Kandace put a little too much flourish on her runs, the tempo was slightly yet perceptibly rushed, and the drummer fumbled a bit with the rubato cymbal waves.
Still in all, Kandace Springs was deeply penetrating and impressive in this intimate showcase just around the corner from her label home base the famed Capitol Records Tower (Blue Note Records President Don Was, one table away from me, was beaming). Her effervescent energy and polished musicality insured that this will be the first of many more times this writer comes out to experience her magic.
A. Scott Galloway
The Urban Music Scene
Thursday June 23, 2016