Charming Hostess — Eat
(Vaccination Records VAC016, 1999, CD)
by Mike McLatchey, Published 2017-05-18
Every so often in going down this list of worthy albums, I find myself in need of revisiting an album, usually to refresh my memory or see if it holds up. In the 90s, the San Francisco bay area was a real hotspot of fascinating and diverse musical activity and Charming Hostess' debut, featuring members of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and fiddle player Jenny Scheinman, was one of the real classics from that era. The vocal trio of leader Jewlia Eisenberg, Carla Kihlstedt, and Nina Rolle was the center of the activity, three brilliant singers who combined traditional and modern sensibilities with an infectious feeling of joy, terrific harmonies and superb lyrics that were well-augmented by the other instrumentalists. The combination of all of the elements was strikingly original at the time, defiant of any simple classification, but most importantly it all worked together with a real sense of fun and positivity. Very few debuts come with this caliber of musicianship at all of the levels and the chemistry made it all feel effortless. And over a decade later it still sounds fresh and invigorating.
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