Paul Soniat – Born in New Orleans

Paul Soniat
Born in New Orleans

(Louisiana Music Factory – 2005)
by Matthew Robinson

Melding the styles and sounds of Randy Newman, Dave Frishberg, and “Fess,” New Orleans’ native son Paul Soniat presents a tribute to his hometown filled with prettiness and pathos. From the musical postcards of the title track, “Down in the Quarter” and “Jazz Fest” to the gentle dedication of “You and I” and the inviting “My Garden,” Soniat wanders from his eponymous street address to both the famous and further corners of the Big Easy.

Along the way, Soniat admits to personal shortcomings (“Liquor Dream”) and expresses heartfelt dreams (“No Guarantee on Love”). Throughout the album ­ from the remorseful fumblings of “Late Last Night” to the sassy bounce of “Rich Bitch” and from the retrospective poetry of “Old Man” to the honky-tonk rambles of “Queen of the Blues” ­ Soniat mixes the traditions of his surroundings with his own heart and soul, making a musical gumbo that is fun and filling.

© 2005, M. S. Robinson, ARR