In the Indigo is 3 a.m. driving music, Clint Eastwood-movie jazz, and so sensual you'd be going for broke if you put it on as seduction music. As a singer, Nancy Harms blows musical smoke rings, and you can imagine why the Dakota lets her do so regularly for paying customers; she recently celebrated the release of this album there. Her sexiness lies in the implacable thickness of her voice, in the sense that she's withholding something just from you, and the way she intimately closes off words in a drawl that turns "me" slightly into "may." This is also the soulful cool of someone sitting beside an emotion and observing it rather than expressing it, though that might also be part of the album's fan-girl classicism: Opening with "Bye Bye Blackbird" and including "Blue Skies," Harms is as "classy" covering John Mayer's "Great Indoors" (which she transforms).
With the exception of her almost comic-book-noir name, you can assume the choices are all hers: sleek arrangements in collaboration with fine supporting players, and two co-writing credits that blend with the standards—the title track, and "Surprised by the Morning." The latter shows Harms letting her hair down a bit vocally, giving her sibilants a little slush and leaning into the lyrics—"singing with the confidence of morning"—about whether the rising sun might lose heart one day and retreat under the horizon. There's little chance that she will.
NANCY HARMS will perform with the Twin Cities Hot Club every Wednesday in December including tonight, WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, at ERTE; 612.623.4211