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Too good to be a debut

Along for the Ride
Along for the Ride
By Laura Kuebel

Tangled Records: 2008

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This review first appeared in the September 11, 2008 issue of the North County Times.

Singer-songwriter Laura Kuebel has one of the richest singing voices on the San Diego acoustic scene. It's deep and resonant, and Kuebel's delivery is so utterly confident that it seems surely she's an old hand at the music biz. But so far as we can tell, this gem of a seven-song EP is her first recording.

Six originals and a lovely cover of "Over the Rainbow," Kuebel's debut displays an artist with strong songwriting skills and a distinctive style. Stylistically, the music here is in a SoCal acoustic folk vein with shades of both alternative rock and Brit folkster Al Stewart (particularly on the opening track, "Nowhere"). The emotions range from the melancholic regret of "Along for the Ride" to the righteous anger of "Scar" to the sly hope of "Perfect Stranger."

The backing band of drummer Bill Coomes (Deadline Friday), bassist Jeff Johnson and guitartist "Doctor Dave" Sawyer provides a rock-solid foundation, while violinst Alicia Ruggerio and mandolinist Marcia Claire provide an instrumental richness to match Kuebel's voice.

This is one of the most promising releases from the local scene in 2008, and one that hopefully is the beginning of a long, productive career.