Teenager’s music all grown up
Sonya Kitchell established herself as a breakout artist at age 16, when she recorded the album Words Came Back to Me and found herself performing on TV talk shows, notching respectable sales and collecting many a glowing review. Now 19 years old, the Massachusetts-bred singer/songwriter is back with This Storm, an accomplished effort that combines folk’s searching sentiments with pure pop bliss. Producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris) wisely keeps the emphasis on Kitchell’s voice, a smoky, expressive instrument that she deploys with preternatural restraint. Her subtlety adds intrigue to rock-infused cuts like “For Every Drop” (even when she lets loose, there’s the suggestion that she’s holding something back), but Kitchell is at her most devastating as a balladeer. On the gorgeous “So Lonely,” her vocals are so high in the mix and her delivery is so delicate that she could be confiding in your ear.