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REBECCA PORTER, PRIME RAINBOW CONDITIONS

Rebecca Porter, a Guam born singer-songwriter from Virginia who writes songs that showcase her commanding country voice and her magical sense for story telling, has come out with a three song EP called, Prime Rainbow Conditions, that shows her range as a balladeer and a “dive bar queen.” “My hopeful heart tries to find a song / If it’s sweet enough you might sing along,” she sings on the album opener and title track. And her songs have that certain something, to be sure, to make you want to sing along: if you can. Her vocal parts are complex and in a higher range, and though she starts off a bit shaky, vocally, on the album, she only grows in confidence and acumen as it proceeds, perhaps what it would be like to catch her in a live show, wowing you by the end. 

You can tell from the album, her Instagram videos, and her tour schedule that she’s a seasoned performer, and it’s a toss up between her performance and her content, what is the more compelling attribute. The first song tells a fascinating story of life’s rainier moments, (hearts being weighed down, the winter’s cold, storm clouds gathered in the sky,) and then offers the silver lining: “Time will tell if it’s my disposition / But for now it’s prime rainbow conditions.” It seems like a tribute to Dolly Parton’s famous quote: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” Though Porter’s music is not completely country, it has that country music charm that captures the blues as well as the hope intrinsic in life. 

The second song, “Queen of the Local,” is certain to be a favorite live performance. A song about a lady who has “A voice so familiar with a face unknown / And a sound as good as it gets.” It sets the scene in a smokey pool hall, probably what Porter has played many a time, herself, and the lyrics of the song paint the picture so that you feel like you are there, rapt in attention, crying in your beer or winking flirtatiously at the cute bar goers. “When your life’s overrun with turmoil and strife / She’ll sing you back to better days.” She knows the power (and the charm) of a songstress and by the end, owns the title: “I’m the queen of the local dive bar.” Beautiful lap steel adorn the first and second tracks. 

The final song, “Shadow of Doubt,” which also has a nice, multiple shot video to accompany it, (it’s super refreshing to see someone of her nationality singing country, Americana music,) gets into the heart of a woman breaking out of an oppressive relationship, with the Lord’s help. “Yea though I walked through the valley / of the shadow of doubt / there was only one man I feared / And he was sleeping in my house.” In good country music form, it incorporates comforting and complex religious imagery, and like all of her songs, plucks on the heart strings so that they vibrate right along with her stunning performance.

This song is her most impressive vocal performance, which has her singing in higher and higher register as the song progresses, all the while maintaining her strong feminine vocals. The album is a showcase for an impressive voice and impressive story telling. It’s a short offering, of course, but better, I think, than an album with mostly covers and some originals. It illustrates her acumen as a songwriter, in her own right, and whets the whistle to hear her live or anticipate a full album from her direction. If you’re a country fan, you’re half way there. But if you just like commanding vocals and dramatic story telling, I think that you’ll really like these songs.

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