Her day

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Courtesy photo<252>
Courtesy photo
Michelle Hanlon, who directs the orchestra at Guyer High School, released her first solo album this week.

Guyer High music teacher releases debut album

Michelle Hanlon is best known as the woman with the baton, leading the Guyer High School Orchestra through rehearsals and performances.

“It took a long, long time, but I’m finally releasing my first CD,” Hanlon said.

She’s a music legacy, daughter to Robin Hood Brians, singer-songwriter and the producer credited for nudging ZZ Top to the cocktail of rock and blues that would become the band’s sound.

And mom? Suzanne Brians is a bassist who sang her way through college in southern Louisiana band the Girls.

Hanlon has a surprisingly big alto and has no trouble weaving her vocals through the note-bending genre of the blues.

Backed by warbling organ, distorted guitar and crashing drums, This Is My Day puts Hanlon in the same school as Mary Chapin Carpenter. Both have full contraltos that can rock and do the bluesy climb and fall.

The record sands down narratives about everyday people, mostly with plucky choruses that urge the characters — and the listener — to always look on the bright side. Hey, encouragement comes with the territory of molding emerging pit musicians.

“Guided Tour” is a tribute to the Beatles, complete with bright brass solos and marching tempo. The title track is equal parts Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson. “I Will Comfort You” is a swinging, nearly alt-country number with bluesy flourishes.

The record, which dropped Tuesday, is available on iTunes and CDBaby.com.

For more information, visit http://michellehanlon.com.

— Lucinda Breeding

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