Bozeman's Jeni Fleming has an incredible voice, no doubt about that. Her newest release shows off her vocal range from warm jazz to soft rock with a velvety Sade quality.
Covers of The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love" and Duke Ellington's "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" show off Fleming's talent for delivering a fresh alternative to familiar classics. Others don't fare quite as well. "Drift Away," with its lite rock sheen and noodling guitar solos, just rehashes an old song—made popular by Dobie Gray—that should probably be amped up rather than toned down, if it has to be redone at all. "Never My Love" is sentimental—romance with all the banal trappings of roses and candlelight—and dated like 1980s "contemporary rock."
What's great about Come to Life are the originals written by Fleming's husband, Jake. "Happy Valentine's Day" is a striking love song in which you can picture Fleming leaning sleepily against a grand piano in some swanky lounge. For the title track, Fleming sings, "There's a shadow hangin' over me," backed by beautifully sad guitar plucking. Those originals bring the album to life.
Jeni Fleming plays the MCT Center for the Performing Arts Wednesday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 PM with cocktails and a performance by Josh Farmer at 6:30 PM. $15/$10 students.