Madeleine Peyroux honed her considerable blues and jazz skills busking on the streets of Paris and touring with a blues band while still a teenager.
Her repertoire choices always enhance her style — standards, jazz, originals, traditionals and blues sung elegantly, definitely not gussied up. Too many singers colour the melodies of great songs with what they consider style, and I consider affectation. Peyroux can sustain the interest of a lengthy musical line with the depth and soul of her voice. Think Billie Holiday, with a dash a Edith Piaf through a jazz prism. Even with those stylish influences, Peyroux manages to maintain something unique. And, in ‘The Blue Room’, she even channels a little Patsy Cline.
This 2013 release is a departure of sorts. The songs, chosen with her longtime producer Larry Klein, are not crossover, as such. Thank God. So many crossover CDs are unmitigated disasters. Here, we have songs from composers that often defy categorization — Warren Zevon, Randy Newman, Leonard Cohen, among them.
The songs echo a ‘blue’ state of mind, but because of the heart of Peyroux’s voice, they seem uplifting in a strange way. Her voice gives a happy life to these introspective songs.
The Blue Room is a superb production all the way — Helik Hadar has engineered a beauty, highlighting the wonderful soloists and string section accompanying Peyroux. For sure, it’s a studio setting, but lovely, nonetheless.
I adore The American Songbook, and singers like Ella and Frank who know how to interpret the greatest songs ever written, but it’s such a nice discovery to hear wonderful songs that are not in the mainstream sung with passion by an artist whose stature grows with every release. Want something different? Click on Tunes or Amazon with impunity.
Release Date: 3/5/2013
Catalog Number: 001810002
1 Take These Chains from My Heart (3:12)
2 Bye Bye Love (3:28)
3 Changing All Those Changes (3:10)
4 Born To Lose (4:27)
5 Guilty (3:50)
6 Bird On the Wire (5:36)
7 I Can’t Stop Loving You (4:18)
8 Gentle On My Mind (6:41)
9 You Don’t Know Me (4:01)
10 Desperadoes Under the Eaves (4:18)