It’s been a long and fascinating journey for The Singer & The Songwriter. The duo comprised of vocalist Rachel Garcia and multi-instrumentalist Thu Tran met in 2006 while students at San Francisco State University, but it wasn’t until 2009 that they released a debut EP.
Now based in Los Angeles, The Singer & The Songwriter have fine-tuned their sound and their first full-length, “What a Difference a Melody Makes,” is a revelation. Tran’s pop- and folk-influenced songwriting blends seamlessly with Garcia’s jazzy vocals to create a sound all their own.
The duo earned some acclaim by winning the 2012 West Coast Songwriters International Song Contest. That tune, “The Art of Missing You,” is flat-out terrific and lifts the lid on “What a Difference a Melody Makes.” Things only get better from there as Garcia and Tran — who plays guitar, piano, harmonica, ukulele and banjo on the record — soar on keepers “Old Fashioned,” “Out of the Fog,” “Half the Week,” “A Borrowed Room in a Borrowed House,” “Pacific Coast Highway” and “Summer Song.”
There aren’t any clunkers on the 13-track release, making for an extremely enjoyable listen. Here’s hoping The Singer & The Songwriter don’t wait so long to make their next album. (Jeffrey Sisk)