About 30 seconds into A Fine Time, I was pretty damn confident that Joni NehRita is the real deal. The entire disc sprang to life with unwavering elegance and never ceased to impress. Occupying the space between airtight and lazily loose, torch song Star uses floating keys and organ flourishes to add brilliant colour.
Every subsequent song confirmed my conviction that NehRita should have gone much further on Canadian Idol in 2003, but what do they know? She’s Erykah Badu meets Joni Mitchell, with a dash of Divine Brown, but NehRita rules her own acoustic zone convincingly.
With the help of Adam Bowman’s pulpy percussion, the crisp keys of Ashley Wey and Chris Rouse’s pristine production prowess, the nine selections strike hard and soothe the spirit.
Joni NehRita plays Hugh’s room Tuesday (April 15).