The debut CD by Huntington singer Marcie Bullock is a powerful collection of original songs anchored by her dynamic vocals and arrangements that defy simple labels. “Spent” straddles the worlds of blues, jazz, and rock, with a hint of country in the mix. Bullock’s versatility as a singer is on full display, as she alternately belts out blues/rock jams and tenderly delivers jazzy ballads.
“Spent” is nearly a concept album, with many of the tunes chronicalling a relationship from its beginning to its decay. The songs are striking, with sharp lyrics and killer musical backing.
Seven of the nine songs on this CD feature Charleston’s Steve Himes, arranging and playing guitar, with Chris Allen on bass and Chris Hudson on drums. The other two the songs arrangements and guitar by Scott Niles, along with Nik Phelps on bass and Aaron Fisher on drums. The playing on this CD is exquisite, providing the perfect backing for Bullock’s powerhouse voice. The CD was recorded at 101 Productions in Sissonville.
Marcie’s vocals recall those of Alison Moyet, with hints of Norah Jones, Ann Wilson and Bonnie Raitt, but she’s not a slave to those influences. She’s an original talent, and this is a very impressive debut release.
Standout tracks on the album include the opening cut, “Who Knew,” with Bullock’s bluesy vocals laid over a funky backing track. “Maybe Just Crazy” is a 70s-style rocker with killer guitar work by Steve Niles. Shifting gears, the very next tune on the CD is a funky masterpiece with a great bassline from Chris Allen and funky guitar courtesy of Steve Himes.
There are a couple of terrific ballads on the CD as well. “Try” is a very soulful lament for failed love. Marcie’s tender vocals on this song are the finishing touches on what could easily become a torch song standard. “Can’t Undo” is another sad song, sung well. This song also showcases Bullock’s great backing vocals. She sings lead and backup on the whole album, and shines in both roles.
“Damaged” is a hard rock tune, bordering on metal, with harsh lyrics and a great “I don’t need you” message. Bullock’s sharply intelligent lyrics might wind up being overlooked due to how impressive her voice is, but she’s a top-notch songwriter who hits the mark in a variety of styles.
The CD closes with “The Business,” in which Bullock’s jazzy lead and backing vocals are full display over a funky backing track. This song shows that Bullock has a full grasp on the more brutal aspects of the “glamorous business” of music. “It’s your face not your name for the place that you claim in this business,” she writes.
After an opening salvo like this, here’s hoping that Marcie Bullock gets to experience “The Business” for years to come. We have a major new talent in the region. The CD can be ordered through CD Baby at this link.
Marcie is having her CD Release show this Saturday, November 22, at The V Club, located at 741 Sixth Avenue in Huntington. The show starts at 10 p.m. Admission is five dollars. Call (304) 781-0680 for more details.