Melissa Ivey doesn't seem particularly interested in going where no singer-songwriter has gone before -- at least not yet. From the Inside Out, which will be introduced to the public on Saturday, March 12, at a Walnut Room show that will also feature Rubber Planet and Paper Boy Jack, is solid in every respect. But full of surprises, it's not.
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At times, Ms. Ivey's sassy singing is a bit self-conscious. For instance, she inserts a little growl into the "Gypsy" line "The heat is rising in you" -- and when she repeats the phrase, she growls again in virtually the same place. Her themes, exemplified by song names such as "Possibilities," aren't poppin' fresh, either. Fortunately, she's got a sense of dynamics that enlivens "Sally's Blues" and the title cut, a gentle tune she wisely caresses instead of belting. These tracks suggest that once she finds her own voice, instead of borrowing the techniques of others, Ivey will really begin to grow.