April 9, 2010

New Release: Lisa Engelken - Caravan

CaravanLisa Engelken is trying to seduce you, and with her latest CD, there's no doubt she'll succeed. Caravan takes us on a journey through the sometimes bumpy territory of love. The first tune, “We’ll Be Together Again,” starts as a sad goodbye between lovers but quickly kicks into an uptempo “see you later” - and so the roller coaster ride begins. Engelken displays a similar playfulness in both vocals and song choices throughout. After a little samba break, the Duke Ellington classic “Caravan” is given a slow, haunting reading as is the little-known Hoagy Carmichael tune “Winter Moon,” my personal favorite on the album. Engelken’s funkier side is on display on Joni Mitchell’s “Trouble Child” and a version of Freddie Hubbard’s “Red Clay.” On Billy Idol’s seminal “White Wedding,” we hear Engelken’s sinuous tone wind its way around the noirish corners of this tune. The final song, “Detour Ahead,” is a gorgeous ballad to the vagaries of love, where the road to happiness is most definitely still under construction.
     The mix of updated standards, covers of Joni Mitchell and Billy Idol tunes, and a little funk give Engelken a chance to display her athletic vocal technique, from kittenish tease to speedy scatting to full-throated belting. And the often complex arrangements are ably handled by the talented group of musicians working with her. Special kudos go to Adam Shulman on piano and Jon Monahan on guitar. Lisa Engelken is a talented singer who deserves to be heard more widely - listening to Caravan will have you falling under her spell.


  1. thanks introducing me to her, I just found a video and she sounds great

  2. You're welcome - I've just discovered her myself. Since she's local here to the San Francisco Bay Area, I hope to see her live as well...