Life has changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic. No traveling, concerts, movies, drinks at bars, gym sessions or even weekly, mundane marketing trips. I now daydream about these previously unappreciated activities. Cat Ridgeway’s album, “Nice To Meet You” is how I will approach the world and each wonderful and sometimes even boring endeavor once it’s safe to resume some normality.
“Giving You Up” is initiated by country-rock guitars that brilliantly as well as effortlessly switch to an arresting soulful sound. The R&B horns and Ridgeway’s powerful, clear, no-nonsense vocals provide a punch forcing me out of my pandemic paralysis. “I like the way you charge the air. But I am not giving you up, anytime time soon. Cause I know if I did then I wouldn’t have anybody too. No, I’m not giving you up, anytime soon. No. I don’t want to have to try.” Although the tune is obviously focused around love of a partnership, I’m taking a different view. I’m not “Giving You Up” economy seat on a fourteen-hour flight, traffic jams to the Hollywood Bowl, an overpriced movie on a sleepy Sunday afternoon, terrible dates at local hot spots, moaning about the plank directive followed by eighty excruciating squats or wandering aimlessly through the grocery store, forgetting the toilet paper but purchasing the latest ‘People’ magazine and vegan, mint chocolate bar while grazing on delicious deli samples. “Sweet Like Candy” is Motown reinvented. Ridgeway’s voice has depth and body like predecessors Diana Ross, Syreeta Wright and Tammie Terrell. The carefree tune makes me want to pop a piece of Bubble Yum, watch muted episodes of “Soul Train” while dancing to Ridgeway in patterned bell bottoms, wedges and a gold sequin crop top. (Just a caveat, I will have to unmute briefly to hear Don Cornelius’ smooth, seductive tagline used to close the show, "and you can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey! … as always in parting, we wish you love, peace and soul!" It’s quite fitting to listen to his closing since Ridgeway is a modern soul queen.) The last track, “I Don’t” is classic pop. The reverberating “Whoa Oh’s” and love frustrated lyrics are Taylor Swift-ish. “Cause I don’t like this. This is between bullshit. No, I don’t want this. Anymore.” Ridgeway is a real talent demonstrating her abilities to master a range of styles. Each tune is layered, creating a multi-faceted, vibrant album.
Pre-pandemic too many of us skipped over the “Nice To Meet You” formalities. We weren’t particularly gracious or appreciative. Once I escape from COVID jail, I’ll be doing things a lot differently. Cat Ridgeway’s record delightfully encapsulates the wonder, energy and authenticity I will apply to every aspect of my splashy and far too overdo, societal reentry.