I first listened to Lessons Lyrical, the new disc from husband and wife duo Petra van Nuis & Andy Brown, during the mad rush of the holiday season. My initial response was essentially, “that’s nice; but I don’t have time for this.” After the New Year, and after rebooting my mindfulness regime, I settled in to listen again. At the time I was completing a repetitive, let’s optimistically call it meditative, labeling project. I gave Petra’s voice my full attention and she never lost me.
Andy Brown’s guitar anticipates the vocal line at the center of this album. Together they use surprising pacing and inflection to bring nuance to familiar lyrics. They also highlight lyrics to a few songs most often heard as instrumentals. Their selections exude a romantic positivity. Cuts like “Try to Remember,” “Simple Isn’t Easy,” and “Who Cares?” are reflective and encouraging. This album is the opposite of showy, a reminder of how wonderful popular song lyrics can be, a good choice for stimulating your good intentions for the new year.