In House #1705: Madeleine Peyroux's Half the Perfect World; New Los Lobos
Honey-voiced singer (and occasional songwriter) Madeleine Peyroux returned this week with her third full-length, entitled Half the Perfect World. While her voice evokes the great jazz singers of a bygone era-- most obviously Billie Holiday-- Peyroux has always shown an adventurous spirit in the selections she's chosen for interpretation on her recordings. It's no different this time around. After singing the songs of everyone from Hank Williams to Bob Dylan to Elliott Smith on 2004's Careless Love, the new effort finds her tackling tunes by Tom Waits ("The Heart of Saturday Night"), Serge Gainsbourg ("La Javanaise"), Charlie Chaplin ("Smile"), and Joni Mitchell (whose "River" features a guest appearance from k.d. lang). The mood, once again, is nice and easy with Peyroux's relaxed phrasing set over tempos that are hard-pressed to break a sweat. The most striking development here appears to be that of Peyroux as a songwriter, as she is credited with co-writes on all four of the originals that appear-- "I'm All Right," for one, is among the strongest tunes on the album. Still, whether the songs are her own or someone else's, when all is said and done it's that voice that matters most. Peyroux's is one of those rare voices that could make the phone book sound essential. Imagine, then, what she does with songwriters like these.
In House #1705.
Focus: New release from Madeleine Peyroux, Half the Perfect World, plus new music from Los Lobos, Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, Hem, and more.
Madeleine Peyroux, from Half the Perfect World: "I'm All Right" (MP3)
In House PODCAST #174