april 2008

Anne Murray
Manhattan/EMI America

Not resting on her laurels—50 million records sold since her 1967 debut with "Snowbird"—Anne Murray has teamed with legendary producer Phil Ramone on what is certainly one of the early surprises of 2008 and, moreover, one of the best recordings of her distinguished, mega-hit-making career. Many of the songs here have been among those mega-hits, but for this special event the Canadian thrush (whose mature voice shows an appealing rough edge these days) teamed up with a cast of all-star female vocalists and revisited some of the grand moments in her recording history. Murray beat Shelby Lynne to the punch with her own tribute to pop-soul diva Dusty Springfield in the form of a lush, soulful duet on "I Just Fall In Love Again," with Dusty's ethereal vocal imported from her original 1979 recording, and the two voices meshing seamlessly in the aching closing verse and chorus; Lynne herself joins the proceedings on a stomping cover of Lennon-McCartney's "You Won't See Me," a real barnburner of a track made doubly incendiary by the thundering drums, soaring, Beatles-like horns and chanting female background chorus. A beautiful orchestral arrangement and a more introspective vocal add an earthier feel to Murray's new treatment of Kenny Loggins's "Danny's Song," to which Martina McBride lends an affecting blues-tinged reading. The disc's most seductive moment is an orchestra-and-small combo waltz rendering of Murray's 1980 Grammy winner, "Could I Have This Dance," featuring a silky vocal contribution from Amy Grant. Emmylou Harris, Celtic Woman, Shania Twain, K.D. Lang and Sarah Brightman (on a feisty rendition of "Snowbird") make the most of their moments as well, and Murray knocks everything out of the park, without any performance enhancers save her own impeccable vocal artistry.—David McGee


Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (www.johnmendelsohn.com)
Website Design: Kieran McGee (www.kieranmcgee.com)
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY; www.flickr.com/audreyharrod), Alicia Zappier (New York)
E-mail: thebluegrassspecial@gmail.com
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024