The title, and to a greater degree the words on "A Bullet Ain't Got a Name" — the opening track on Sharon Coates's beautiful new CD, "here now" — caught me unaware right out of the gate. It's been rolling around in my head for the past two days; a good lyric will do that. The song laments the futility in searching for ways to treat each other better. It's as if admitting defeat and accepting that futility is a step in the right direction.
The music on this artist's second album shares the stage with the words; another step in the right direction. Songs like "Got It All" shows a band that respects Coates's material and doesn't steamroll through it — although there is a sharp, dynamic incline the musicians, including trumpeter Dave Chisholm, capably mount in high gear toward the end of the tune. And there are sing along spots, like the tunes "Cathedral" and "What You Gonna Do?"
Coates sings simply and sweetly with no stunts and no drama; the entirety of "here now" earns its respect through everything she does and everything she avoids. "Here now" plays out as an extension of her debut, "Strange World," with the same insight and musical intrigue. It will make you sit up and listen ... more than a few times.