Ashley Daneman

People Are Fragile
(Flood Music)

Michigan-based “jazz-folk” singer Ashley Daneman has found an intriguing balance between the soaring virtuosity of Joni Mitchell and the earthy Americana of Becca Stevens. In a nutshell, the material and arrangements incline toward the latter, Daneman’s vocal performance toward the former.

People Are Fragile is a showcase for Daneman’s nine fine originals, set alongside three tradition-steeped covers. And as its title indicates, the album showcases vulnerability as well. It’s tempting to read it as a personal statement, but the fragilities are too diffuse to boil down to a narrative. On “I Alone Love The Unseen In You,” she stands stoically in protection of a wounded loved one; and on the country-soul shimmy “Shake It All Down,” she chases away despair. None of these is particularly delicate: She saves that for the exquisite glimmers-of-hope “When You Break” and “Recall,” as well as the spiritual standards. But if there’s a throughline, it’s simply Daneman’s supple voice and a delivery both robust and mature enough to temper the whole affair.