Katherine Jenkins: Believe

Move over Sarah Brightman, Katherine Jenkins is in town. The Welsh mezzo-soprano’s pristine, rafter-scraping voice is beautifully displayed on her new album, Believe. Katherine transforms classics by The Beatles, Queen and Edith Piaf into gorgeous arias and also covers newer songs by Evanescence and Sarah McLachlan. Produced by David Foster, the album features guests Andrea Bocelli and Chris Botti.

A lovely rendition of The Beatles’ “Til There Was You” melts into a dark yet gentle take on Evanescence’s “Bring Me To Life.”

A tender rendering of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel” follows, and the album’s title track is a soaring duet with Andrea Bocelli.

“Parla Più Piano (Love theme from The Godfather)” shows off the full range of Katherine’s voice, from its deepest, most robust depths to its highest opera-worthy trills.

A seraphic cover of Queen’s “Who Wants to Live Forever” serves as the finale to this splendid album.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below…

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Katherine Jenkins Official Site

CD Contest: Sarah Mclachlan

Contest Closed
Murúch and Filter Magazine are giving away one copy of Sarah McLachlan’s Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff 2 CD. You can read my review of the album here, and the contest details are below.

The Prize:

1 copy of Sarah McLachlan’s Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff 2 CD

The Rules:

Comment to this entry with your email address. You may include the name of your favorite Sarah McLachlan song if you wish, but that’s optional. You can also email me to enter, but comments are preferred.

Note: This contest is open to everyone and anyone, but all contestants must enter with a valid email address in order to qualify. The winner of the contest will also be required to provide me with their full name, phone number, and postal address. Your contact information will only be used for shipping purposes.

The Deadline:

The contest will end on Friday, May 30th. The winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email.

Go now go! And tell others.

Contest Closed

Sarah McLachlan: Rarities, B-Sides, and Other Stuff 2

I’ve been a fan of Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan since long before her Lilith Fair days, stumbling upon her second album Solace in the early 1990s and shortly after devouring 1993’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Though her recent releases haven’t captivated me so intensely, my fondness for her elegant voice hasn’t diminished over the years. Sarah released the first volume of Rarities, B-Sides & Other Stuff in 1996, and now gives us this second collection of soundtrack work, previously unreleased as well as live tracks, and collaborations with guests Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams, DMC, Emmylou Harris, The Perishers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, DJ Tiësto, and Delerium.

The album opens with “Ordinary Miracle”, culled from the Charlotte’s Web soundtrack. Though I prefer Fisher‘s cover, McLachlan’s version is also lovely. Cyndi Lauper then joins McLachlan on the pretty acoustic duet of “Time After Time” that they recorded for Lauper’s The Body Acoustic.

Though I personally think that Holly Cole recorded the definitive cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River” on her 1997 album Dear Dark Heart, McLachlan successfully captures the soft melancholy of the original. Allison Crowe‘s interpretation is good, too.

Bryan Adams guests on the Gretchen Peters tune “Don’t Let Go”, Emmylou Harris sings on the Lilith Fair edition of “Angel”, and The Perishers appear on the live recording “Pills”. The disc also includes McLachlan’s plucky rendition of The Beatles’ “Blackbird” from the I Am Sam soundtrack, the sweet “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2, and “The Rainbow Connection” from For The Kids.

I favor the original version of Delerium’s “Silence” from the Brokedown Palace soundtrack over this “In Search Of Sunrise” remix by DJ Tiësto. But I rarely like remixes. Also present are Sarah’s covers of the traditional “Prayer of St. Francis” and “Unchained Melody”.

Far more interesting than any of the above are Sarah’s a cappella cover of Paul Simon’s “Homeless” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the marvelously bizarre transformation of Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s In The Cradle” into the rap-rock song “Just Like Me” with rapper DMC.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples at the links below.

Sarah McLachlan Official Site

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Sarah McLachlan

Cyndi Lauper: The Body Acoustic

Cyndi Lauper’s The Body Acoustic features new acoustic arrangements of 12 of her songs, with several being transformed into duets with Ani DiFranco, Sarah McLachlan, Shaggy, Jeff Beck, and Vivian Green among others.

The album opens with a new clap beat and string arrangement on “Money Changes Everything”, with Lauper’s raspy voice being joined by Taking Back Sunday’s Adam Lazzara. Shaggy’s reggae vocal style seems an odd match for the quasi bluegrass arrangement on “All Through The Night”, but it strangely works.

Sarah McLachlan lends her voice to an only slightly altered “Time After Time” and “Water’s Edge”. Jeff Beck pops up on “Above The Clouds”, while Vivian Green slides in on “I’ll Be Your River”. Green sticks around for a trio with Cyndi and Ani Difranco on “Sisters Of Avalon”.

Lauper goes it alone on four of the album’s tracks, including the moody dulcimer and piano take of “She Bop” and “True Colours”. And the album closes with a brassy ska duet of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with Puffy Ami Yumi.

Cyndi Lauper Official Site
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Melissa McClelland: Thumbelina’s One Night Stand

Melissa McClelland is the wife of Luke Doucet, who produced and played on her 2006 release. Melissa was previously a background singer for Sarah McLachlan, who joins the husband and wife team on Thumbelina’s One Night Stand. I won’t be surprised if comparisons are drawn between the two female Canadian singer-songwriters, but I think McClelland’s pretty avant-garde style is more akin to Megan Palmer. Thumbelina’s One Night Stand is a darkly twisted and beautiful fairytale.

In addition to producing Thumbelina’s One Night Stand, Luke Doucet contributes backing vocals, vibes, wurlitzer, piano, pedal steel, pump organ, harmonica, guitars, and percussion. Banjo, melotron, chamberlain, trumpet, French horn, Celtic harp, alto and baritone sax are also present, among several other instruments and sound effects.

“Passenger 24” rips open this album with a saucy, dusty piano and pedal steel hum beneath Melissa’s velvet chanteuse voice. Then “Iroquis Street Factory” softens the mood with a jazzy cabaret fable centered around factory workers. The languid “Dayton Ohio, 1903” was written by Randy Newman. The album also includes two bonus tracks mixed by Jeff Trott.

Other songs on Thumbelina’s One Night Stand alternate between ethereal Sarah Mclachlan pop, smooth Madeleine Peyroux jazz, lilting Jenny Lewis indie-rock, and an indescribable, beautifully creepy blues that belongs in New Orleans or some Deep South swamp. The latter description is especially fitting for the eerie twang of “Go Down Matthew”, which features vocals by Sarah Mclachlan.

I was not granted permission to share an mp3, but you can hear samples from the album at Melissa’s MySpace page.

Melissa McClelland Official Site

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