So many contestants on television talent shows think they can sing the blues — with all that huffing and puffing and twisting of faces into grotesque grimaces, you'd think they were lifting mountains instead of making music. Of course, real blues of any style involves a deep communication between performer and listener, not just theatrics, and that's where Lawrence Lebo excels. After attending the Grove School of Music and earning her B.A. in music at UCLA — where she studied under jazz legend Kenny Barron — she now teaches blues-vocal workshops at McCabe's. Her singing displays her talent for the blues. Yes, she can wail up as fierce and fiery a storm as any gospel diva (even after returning to action just weeks after heart surgery last year), but Lebo also purrs and puts a jazzy touch on occasional Western swing rambles. Most impressively, she's that rare blues musician who writes persuasively authentic original songs, such as “Lawrence's Working Girl Blues,” her smartly sarcastic answer to Three 6 Mafia's “It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” —Falling James

LA Weekly