Sunday, June 05, 2005

Madeleine Peyroux - Careless Love (2004)

Madeleine Peyroux has finally released her second CD, Careless Love, a long eight years after her stellar debut and it is even better than its predecessor.

Just as she did on 1996’s Dreamland, Peyroux still sounds a lot like Billie Holiday but with out the late singer's gruffness, and her band still features the same sparse arrangements that allow her voice to be the star because, after all, her vocals and the mood she sets with her voice are what this CD is all about. Even though her few detractors say she sings too much like a Holiday clone Peyroux is still one of the best pop and jazz singers in business today.

This time around there is only one self-penned tune which allows Peyroux to choose some excellent cover material. The CD starts off with a bang with Leonard Cohen’s “Dance Me To The End Of Love". Her reading of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," originally found on his Blood On The Tracks album, is superb. She also covers Hank Williams, as well as the title cut by W. C. Handy, and the old jazz standard “the Lonesome Road.” “Don’t Wait To Long,” the only original song, shows Peyroux has great taste in collaborators because her co-writer here is none other than Jesse Harris who wrote a lot of Norah Jones first major label release.

Peyroux's terrific band never overwhelms her vocals but they make their presence known with occasional flourishes and solos that standout because of the sparse arrangements. The band is capable of offering an up-tempo beat without any bombast and on the mellow songs the soft accompaniment is very appropriate.

Peyroux can’t wait another eight years for a followup. Not only is it a bad career move it isn’t fair to her growing legion of fans because she has too much to offer the music world.

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