Lara Hope and the Ark-Tones - Love You To Life
Hope and her rockabilly crew have been racking up tons of accolades in their home stomping ground of the Hudson Valley area of New York (north of Manhattan) and they also garnered national attention by winning the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly Artist. Right now is a real good time for the uninitiated to get on board as the band is currently on a nationwide tour behind the cleverly-titled Love You to Life. Hope has a big voice that easily grabs the listener with a "hey, let's have some fun" quality, and there are surprise moments of humor here and there too, like on the title cut where Hope sings, "I love you more than I did yesterday/'Cause yesterday you kinda pissed me off." The rockabilly here leans to the bluesy side of things and is rather showy too; that is to say that on songs like "Callin' My Name" the groove conjures the image of Hope commanding a large stage, dancing about in costume to a choreographed routine as much as it conjures a performance in a sweaty dive bar. To the band's credit there are only a couple of covers here; a bouncy take on Wynona Carr's "'Til the Well Runs Dry" which features a raunchy sax solo from guest player Hayden Cummings, and Jack White's countrified "Hotel Yorba." Original number "I'm Yours" is a highlight; the cut is not rockabilly but rather a '50s-ish sounding bit of soulful pop that is about a declaration of heartfelt devotion. A bit of a spy sound influences "Dr. Bartender" where Hope plays a character who finds the perfect person to share her troubles with in her local barkeep. Hope plays rhythm guitar while she sings and her band (which includes hubby Matt "The Knife" Goldpaugh on upright bass) is note-on perfect throughout, but whether fans like the effort or not is going to be contingent on whether or not they're comfortable with Hope's voice and its significant presence. We're betting that most will love it to life.