Madeleine Peyroux Reinterprets Ray Charles Classic On New Album
The album is a return to what she is known best for - reinterpreting songs with an emotion and depth that can't help but touch the soul.
The Blue Room features Madeleine reinterpreting songs from Ray Charles' seminal album Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music, as well as others from legendary artists such as Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen, whose legacies are herein enveloped into a similar melting pot of the variety of American popular song. Released in the summer of 1962, Modern Sounds was a daring album for Charles as it broke the mold of what was expected from him, and in turn, truly represented artistic freedom - something that clearly inspires Peyroux's album The Blue Room. Conceived and produced by the legendary Grammy-Award winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock), he says, "Ray's cultural landmark of an album has always been a part of me. I have loved this album ever since I can remember and I knew that Madeleine would be the perfect voice to bring it to the forefront again."
Reexamining this album is an ideal project for the multi-talented Madeleine Peyroux, because she comes from that same rare place as Ray Charles - the junction of jazz, country and blues. The Brooklyn and Paris-bred artist, with a New Orleans pedigree, Peyroux's soulfully piercing voice and eclectic musical mix makes for magnificent story-telling. And that is exactly what each of the songs on The Blue Room does - tell a story - but from her own perspective. Infusing her own vision and reinterpretation of the songs with modern sensibility, Peyroux brings elements of jazz, country and blues into each song, while evoking a depth of emotion and sound of such legends as Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, Ιdith Piaf, and Bob Dylan.
Featuring sparse arrangements, each of the 11 tracks on the album sets a tone and mood that respects where the originals came from, but offers a modern reinterpretation of each song. Truly an inspired record, The Blue Room features five other tracks that Madeleine felt could accompany Charles' seminal album.
"I didn't want to just do a straight forward covers album," says Madeleine. "When Larry first brought this project to me, I was so moved by what I heard that it truly inspired me to both reinterpret these songs while also merging them with others that I thought fit perfectly." The end result is an album that brings the listener through a soulful musical journey. Among these are Warren Zevon's "Desparadoes Under The Eaves" and Randy Newman's "Guilty." This decision to include more contemporary songs attests to Madeleine's impeccable instincts, as does the resurrection of a wonderful and obscure Buddy Holly song "Changing All Those Changes," the first single from the album.
The title of the album comes from both a fictional and real place where Madeleine felt these songs would live. She says, "When I am singing a song, I feel like I am painting a picture, and in my mind I pictured The Blue Room to be a place where these songs live - it is meant to strike a mood and create an ambiance befitting of the album as a whole."
Madeleine Peyroux will debut new material from her forthcoming album in an intimate setting at The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC on March 22 and 23, 2013.