On The Blue Room, her second Decca recording, Madeleine Peyroux and producer Larry Klein re-examine the influence of Ray Charles' revolutionary 1962 date, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. They don't try to re-create the album, but remake some of its songs and include others by composers whose work would benefit from the genre-blurring treatment Charles pioneered. Bassist David Pilch, drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Dean Parks, and pianist/organist Larry Goldings are the perfect collaborators. Most these ten tracks feature string arrangements by Vince Mendoza.
The contents of the EMI box are too numerous to list but all the sonatas, variations, and most short pieces are here: absent is the London Sketchbook, which is trite juvenalia.
Erstwhile 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman Natalie Merchant continues her highly successful solo career with LIVE IN CONCERT, a show that was recorded at New York's Neil Simon Theater. The set opens, somewhat appropriately, with one of the songs that got Merchant's solo career off to a blazing start, "Wonder." As she usually does in live performance, Merchant plays with the lyrical phrasing of the song to add unexpected melisma and daring tonal gambits. Merchant lends the dark and ephemeral "San Andreas Fault" a lightly sultry quality not found on the studio version. Other familiar favorites include "Beloved Wife," "Carnival," and "Ophelia." Merchant revisits the Maniacs' catalog only once, for a rousing take on "Gun Shy." Two unexpected covers spice the middle of the set: a haunting and powerful reading of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," and a beautiful take on Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush".
Greatest Hits is a strange release. Sure, Tupac Shakur had more than enough hits to make a terrific compilation, but its appearance in the fall of 1998 felt a bit like another opportunity to milk his catalog, simply because of the plethora of releases, from previously unheard recordings to interview discs and bootlegs. Even with these misgivings taken into account, it has to be said that Greatest Hits does its job well. Given that it runs 25 tracks and two CDs, some may argue that it does its job a little too well, but the fact of the matter is, this contains all of his big hits, from "Keep Ya Head Up" and "Dear Mama" to "California Love" and "I Ain't Mad at Cha." Some may argue that it would have been more effective if it was sequenced in chronological order, but this remains the best place for casual listeners to get all the 2Pac they need.
Love. Angel. Music. Baby. is the debut solo album by American singer Gwen Stefani. It was released on November 12, 2004, by Interscope Records. Stefani, who had previously released five albums as rock band No Doubt's lead singer, began recording solo material in early 2003. She began working on Love. Angel. Music. Baby. as a side project that would become a full album after No Doubt went on hiatus. Stefani co-wrote every song on the album, collaborating with various songwriters and producers including André 3000, Dallas Austin, Dr. Dre, the Neptunes and Linda Perry.
Woody Guthrie was born on July 14th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. Over the decades, his songs have run around the world like a fast train on a well oiled track. They've become the folk song standards of the nation, known and performed in many languages throughout the world. Woody Guthrie at 100! Live at the Kennedy Center, is the CD/ DVD centennial celebration of the birth of America's greatest folk singer, Woody Guthrie. John Mellencamp, Jackson Browne, Tom Morello, Donovan, Ani DiFranco, Rosanne Cash, Old Crow Medicine Show and others perform many of Guthrie's classics along with recently recorded lyrics from the Woody Guthrie Archives.