A veteran of the Second City Touring Company, suburban Chicago native Denise La Grassa made her mark in that talented troupe with a bit called “Make-A-Song,” writing and performing tunes on the spot based on any topic the audience shouted out. That loose, carefree and immediate vibe still permeates her third album, the recent D.I.Y. release “April Dreams,” but don’t let it fool you into thinking the music is tossed-off.
With an impressive but never showy range and a self-assured, conversational delivery that brings to mind a jazzier Aimee Mann, La Grassa offers uniquely personal and melodically powerful takes on romance in standout originals such as “Yesterday’s Replay” and “Best Day,” while local producer Matt Thompson (the Mighty Blue Kings, Frisbee) captures the spare but perfect accompaniment of a four-piece backing band.
Currently based in downstate Bloomington, La Grassa regularly gigs throughout the Midwest. Check her Website, www.deniselagrassa.com, for dates, and sample her music there or at www.myspace.com/deniselagrassa.