By: Paulanne Simmons
May 28, 2018: Susan Hodgdon is in love with Cole Porter. And after listening to her new album, “So in Love with Cole,” many people will fall in love with Ms. Hodgdon.
Backed by arranger Daryl Kojak on piano, Steven Frieder on tenor sax, Sean Conly on bass and Dwayne Cook Broadnaz on drums, Hodgdon sings a selection of Porter songs that range from the tongue-in-cheek “My Heart Belongs to Daddy” to the debonaire “I Love Paris” to the heartbreaking “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye.” In each song, band and singer work together so seamlessly at times they seem to be talking to each other.
Hodgdon has clearly taken pains to perfect her art. She sings each note with a carillon clarity. Her articulation is perfect. She gives every word of Porter’s wise and witty lyrics its due respect. This is especially delicious in songs like “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)”: “Some Argentines without means do it/People say in Boston even beans do it/Let’s do it/Let’s fall in love.”
As for “Miss Otis Regrets,” Hodgdon’s sly sincerity emphasizes Porter’s sophisticated restraint. This same sincerity contrasts nicely with the band’s bluesy “What Is This Thing Called Love.”
Although Hodgdon has been performing one-woman shows in New York City over the past six years, and her CD “I Could Go on Singing: Susan Hodgdon Sings the Songs of Judy Garland” was recorded live at Don’t Tell Mama, “So in Love with Cole” is her first studio CD. Perhaps this is why Hodgdon is just a little too careful.
Good performers do everything right. But great performers take risks. Like Porter’s “courageous kangaroos,” Hodgdon has to do it.