BABY DEE > Safe Inside the Day
An artist destined for a cult following, Baby Dee hits full stride with her fourth full-length release, the richly arranged Safe Inside the Day. Having earned her reputation as a street performer and carnival act, the former church organist and classically trained harpist establishes herself as a singularly dazzling performer with a set of tracks steeped in blues-inflected piano balladry, show tune whimsy and vaudeville novelty. Now 55, she writes songs that exude a lifetime spent on the fringe, with her theatrical affectations and childlike storytelling belying the quiet longing in her vocals. Aside from the thinly veiled metaphors in “The Dance of Diminishing Possibilities,” little mention is made of her transgender status (which is fairly obvious from her weathered tenor), but the surreal mixing of local legends, religious icons and albinos provides more than enough fascinating narrative material.