Lucy Yeghiazaryan/Vanisha Gould

In Her Words
(La Reserve Records)

Armenian-born Lucy Yeghiazaryan crafts melodies with an exquisitely tempered, full-bodied voice tailor-made for illuminating the great torch songs of a bygone era, while Southern California native Vanisha Gould spins colorful narration from her songs with a conversational style seared with sauciness. These two seem from different universes, yet they have a rich jazz tapestry tucked deep into their distinct voices. They also share the experiences (for better and for worse) of being a woman.

In Her Words is a conversation, alternating anecdotes from their lives like two friends over lunch. Here, the shared plate is an unconventional string quartet of violin, cello, bass and guitar, with Yeghiazaryan and Gould feeding off the band’s energetic sensitivity in their own ways.

Gould’s modern folk ballads overflow with words that tell short stories, as in the restless “Gypsy Feet.” Yeghiazaryan’s ballads are tender stuff, including a knockout rendition of “My Man,” a tragic ode to an abusive lover, simultaneously an homage to Billie Holiday.

The contrast between the singers is striking throughout, even as we begin to hear how these two women from opposite ends of the world are, in the end, coming from the same place.

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