The Living Sisters, ‘Love to Live’ (Vanguard)
Singer-songwriters Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond), Inara George (of the Bird and the Bee), and Eleni Mandell convene for this relaxed, deceptively sophisticated gem of an album. Although their sparkling three-part harmonies recall the pre-rock pop of the Andrews Sisters, Love to Live isn’t all sweetness and light. George’s doo wop-style “Blue” oozes bitter romantic regret, and an easygoing cover of Bessie Smith’s “Good Ole Wagon” unleashes a scalding putdown of an inadequate lover. Complete with whistling, Mandell’s sleepy “Ferris Wheel” seems to be a straightforward tale of good times, but this trio never stays in an obvious comfort zone for long.