Material: Heather Youmans and her accompaniment played an assemblage of songs from her soundtrack work, her originals, which were imbued with reflective personal tales, and beautiful covers that put twists on contemporary pop-rock. She sang creative renditions of “The First Cut Is The Deepest,” Alanis Morissette's “Ironic” and Rihanna's “Umbrella.” Youmans’ own compositions included “Shine,” examining teenage self- esteem and anxiety issues and “Dreams,” a selection with upbeat guitar but a likewise melancholic tone about unfulfilled wishes.
Musicianship: The breadth of styles highlighted Youmans’ singing talent, the skill of her husband John MacLennan on guitar and Steve Hass’ ability to keep the backing beat on cajon. They have a penchant for quick adaptation between genres and can turn Top 40 radio pop into palatable and engaging cafe music at appropriate decibels. “You're My Kind of Trouble” best demonstrated Youmans' great vocal range and deep, sonorous voice.
Performance: The trio played with joy and passion. Youmans, MacLennan and Hass
were synchronized throughout. “Is It Just Me?” wonderfully embodied the sensations surrounding the unknowns of love’s reciprocation. Her nostalgic movie tracks, “If I Could” and “This is Not Your Girl Next Door,” have a petulant teen-pop vibe, and carried the theme of self- development and facing one’s fears. The show was a deeper examination of the kinds of music Youmans wants to explore and the demographic for whom she wants to be a positive role model.
Summary: Overall, Youmans is an impressive singer-songwriter. The session was recorded
for potential release and she showed her vocal range and musical repertoire, which likely contributed to the cover-heavy performance. I would, however, have liked to hear more original material. The covers were tasteful, but there was a more emotive quality from her own music that revealed a deeper personality, and listeners will be tuned in for further exploration of this creativity. Especially in Youmans’ cover of “The Way I Am,” it is clear she is an artist who needs to be heard in person to be truly appreciated.
Web: heatheryoumans.com, and IG @ heatheryoumans
Players: Heather Youmans, vocals, electric bass; Jon MacLennan, acoustic guitar; Steve Hass, percussion