Native Belles

California Song Girls

Growing older doesn't necessarily mean losing your rebellious edge—or sense of humor. Los Angeles singer/songwriter Deborah Holland makes this case quite convincingly throughout her new release, the wonderful, aptly titled Bad Girl Once . . . Soccer Mom Now. Holland, the former keyboardist/lead vocalist in Animal Logic, a late-'80s experimental jazz-pop trio featuring Stanley Clarke and Stewart Copeland, deliciously skewers pop culture in such selections as "Song About Sex," "Chain Stores, Malls and Restaurants," and "On My Way."

Songwriting is the focus when Holland is joined by Jenny Yates and Wendy Waldman—also known as the California Song Girls—this Saturday evening in Anaheim.

Alternating songs and backing one another as the three perform "In the Round," Holland, Yates and Waldman will draw from bodies of work rich in both commercial appeal and creative drive.

Now focusing more on record producing, ex-Bryndle band member Waldman gained some notoriety in the 1970s with soft-rock recordings such as "Long Hot Summer Nights" and "Gringo en Mexico," and her pop/folk/country songs have been recorded by Aaron Neville, the Dirt Band, Alison Krauss, Randy Travis, Judy Collins, Vanessa Williams and Maria Muldaur, among others.

The Arizona-born Yates has found success in Nashville and Los Angeles writing songs for others, most notably collaborating with Garth Brooks on several hits, including "Thicker Than Blood" and the Golden Globe-nominated "When You Come Back to Me Again" (from the film Frequency). More artistically impressive, though, is her much-anticipated solo debut, Out of the Blue, an authentic-sounding collection of roots/country/Americana music.

Themes of social awareness and female independence link these three talented ladies. But it is Holland—whose style and delivery reminds me of a female Loudon Wainwright III—who reveals the most about herself and the complex world she inhabits. Soccer mom now? Hardly.

The Living Tradition Concert Series presents the California Song Girls at the Downtown Community Center, 250 E. Center St., Anaheim, (949) 646-1964; www.livingtradition.org. Sat., 7:30 p.m. $14; children under 18, free with paid adult. Reservations strongly recommended.

 
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