CD Review: Elisa Randazzo

Bruises and Butterflies (Drag City)

Elisa Randazzo has been kicking around for a decade and a half. The singer/multi-instrumentalist was a member of Red Krayola and recorded as Fairechild with ex-husband Josh Schwartz. She's also the daughter of songwriter Teddy Randazzo, known for penning hits for artists like Frank Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt. With such a varied background, it's surprising Randazzo's solo debut, Bruises and Butterflies, is so tightly focused. The record resulted from her divorce from Schwartz and a collaboration with British folk legend Bridget St. John, who co-wrote two songs. It takes time to find its footing: The snoozy first half is filled with paper-thin songs like "Remember May," which marry folksy finger-picking guitar with a choir of multi-tracked vocals. The record hits its stride with the country-fied "Can't Afford My Peace of Mind" and the ambitious, attention-grabbing arrangement of "Blood to Give." The excellent "Circles" shows what might have been if Randazzo had given the entire record a similar twangy vibe. Randazzo's solo bow has been a long time coming, but too many of Butterflies' tracks float away from musical weightlessness.

Chris Drabick