As concept albums go, LeAnn Rimes’ 2011 album Lady & Gentlemen is a good one: a collection of masculine country classics reinterpreted by a female singer. Sometimes, this reinterpretation amounts to little more than swapping a gender – “The Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line” becomes “The Only Mama That’ll Walk the Line,” Charlotte in John Anderson’s “Swingin'” becomes Charlie – and some of these songs are standards that have often been sung by either gender (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”), but there are a few songs that do feel slightly different when sung by Rimes…..
Classical music for children has been an underserved genre, even though nothing could be more beneficial to the cause of bringing the music to future generations. Any such release is worthy of note, but one like this, charming and original, is cause for celebration. Pianist Jenny Lin organizes for children some favorite compositions and a few delightful rarities along a timeline "from breakfast to bedtime." There are 26 short pieces, enough to give a feel for the variety and importance of this tradition in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Along the way you get Chopsticks, which you may not have known was an actual composition with an actual composer (female, at that), former chestnuts like Grieg's Grandmother's Minuet, the utterly charming I Danced with a Mosquito by Anatoly Liadov, ragtime and jazz works, and, to end, starlight familiar (Mozart) and more rare (Selim Palmgren), plus the famed cradle songs of Brahms and Chopin. Lin and the engineers from the Steinway label create a magical atmosphere, amplified by excellent children's illustrations in the booklet by Mikela Prevost. An ideal holiday, or anytime, gift item.
Recorded in the venerable Irish veterans’ favorite Cape Cod venue circa August 2008, LIVE AT THE MELODY TENT is a boisterous, often moving distillation of the band’s Celtic folk-cum-pub rock legacy. The 14 songs were hand-selected by the group, leaving it no wonder that virtually every track, be it the ska-inspired hopefulness of “Will It Ever Stop Raining?” or romantic drive and handclap/sing-along chorus of “That’s What She Said Last Night,” enthusiastically encapsulates the group’s restless spirit. They may not be as debauched as the Pogues or as righteously stripped-down as Billy Bragg, but MELODY TENT is an awesome testament to their status as fierce songwriters and proud countrymen.
Pianist Keith Jarrett goes it alone on The Melody at Night, With You. No stranger to solo recitals, here Jarrett tackles familiar standards along with a few traditional pieces and as we come to expect, the performances are near flawless. Part of the beauty and majesty of it all lies within Jarrett's penchant for understatement and ebullience while possessing an astounding sense of depth and range. Throughout this recording, Jarrett has seemingly decided to forego any semblance of dramatics as he vividly sets the scenario for the listener along with the partner of his or her choice as they may sit in front of a soft burning fire under dim lights.