Ida Jo's 2010 debut CD, Providence, was notable for its particular use of the violin in a pop context. Typically, pop artists use string sections, often sampled, to make their songs cinematic. Not Ida Jo. Having studied violin performance at UW-Madison, the local singer-songwriter used her instrument largely as a guitar substitute that carried the riffs and melodies of her songs.
On Singer in the Band, Ida Jo continues that approach while giving greater emphasis to her vocal interpretations. The result is an album with much greater emotional range.
Ida Jo's voice is refined enough to conjure reflection and edgy enough to stir agitation. Her edgy side leads the way on "No (We Won't Take It), an anthem of working-class political resistance. "Mama Always Said" is drenched in the heartache of destructive relationships.
But the delicate "Diamonds and Gold" shows Ida Jo can also confront sadness with a soothing and healing tone. Scott Lamps' piano work adds richness to a CD that moves Ida Jo's music career another step forward.