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2017 winner of the Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Female Rockabilly artist, and named the Best Up-And-Comin' Band by the Hudson Valley Magazine Lara Hope as one would expect the unit is a dynamic combination. The music from Hope and her band the Ark-Tones that include her husband, Matt ‘The Knife’ Goldpaugh (upright bass, backup vocals), Dave Tetreault (drum, percussion) and Billy Riker (electric lead guitar) is both hugely infectious and varied. Produced by the band, with help from Jimmy Eppard (Levon Helm) a nicely shaped sound is obtained.
Other than one each song from Wynona Carr, “Til The Well Runs Out”, and it is a ripper! Awash in thrusting licks, harmony vocals and sax (Hayden Cunnings from the band Kings Of Nuthin’) the bar is set. Jack White’s “Hotel Yorba” rounds off the album in sterling fashion. Hope could not have chosen better compositions to accompany her own well-worked songs. She gives the latter a new and exciting twist as some stunning acoustic bass and electric guitar (solos), electric sitar and more are introduced. Maybe White has other tunes she could lend her stamp to. He may well have. With Hope and the Ark-Tones so versatile and adaptable anything is possible, and or likely.
Among the highlights you have the lively worded and played title-track “Love You To Life” to go with the organ (Jeremy Baum) warmed “I’m Yours” and atmospheric tune “Dr. Bartender” (that combines show music, hints of jazz with her stable diet) plus “Luckiest Girl In Town (The Wedding Song)” that opens in mellow wistful fashion. Though her style of writing could easily have come from the late 1950s it sounds as fresh and vibrant as anything around. When she finds a groove like the one here, and the cheery “Hotel Yorba”, plus with something of a Rhumba beat “Love You To Life” she is the business.
Hope is a real all-rounder and not only on record but she also performs as a duo (The Gold Hope Duo) with her husband when not with the full band or playing country – western music at one of the longest family run resorts in New York, the Rocking Horse Ranch. One song “This is What I’ve Got” contains a little of all the genres noted. Assisted by the likes of call and answer song “I’m The One” as she utilises the boys for vocal aid the music is ever changing. I can’t wait to here more from Hope and the Art-Tones, for I believe there is better to come.
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