Named by Billboard Magazine as one of the Top 10 Faces to Watch in 2007, the acclaimed Bay Area-based vocalist and songwriter makes her major label debut on Verve Forecast with a show-stopping blend of soul, funk, gospel, jazz and R&B on Lost and Found.
Ledisi, whose name does not rhyme with "release me" (it's LED-duh-see), nevertheless sounds like she's hit upon freedom and sweet salvation on Lost And Found, her third CD and the first on a major label (Verve). And it's not just a matter of the third time being the charm: Though she's long been the object of love from critics--2002's jazz-themed Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue earned props for its depth and nuance, and her contribution to 2004's Luther Vandross tribute, Forever, For Always, For Luther, also prompted breathlessness--her focus this time out is less on music that'll win her respect and more on the kind that'll render her a mainstream R&B favorite. Which is to say it's a much different and more accessible record than its predecessors, the kind that comes first from the heart, then from the head. First single "Alright" grooves insistently and with deep reserves of attitude; "I Tried"--a tell-all about a doomed relationship--packs a rhythmic wallop as well as an excellent set of lyrics; and "Upside Down" gets fuel from fierce, infectious guitar funk. Those are just a sampling of what makes this an instantly diggable (and, at 16 tracks, likably long) set. Straight up is sometimes a hard road for artists who value more than their sales rank or chart position to follow, but for Ledisi it's the way to go--what turns up in this particular Lost And Found is her groove; her ticket to stardom is likely in there with it. --Tammy La Gorce