|1. Western Stars|
|2. Lock, Stock And Teardrops|
|3. Sugar Moon|
|4. I Wish I Didn't Love You So|
|5. (Waltz Me) Once Again Around The Dance Floor|
|6. Black Coffee|
|8. Don't Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes|
|9. Tears Don't Care Who Cries Them|
|10. I'm Down To My Last Cigarette|
|11. Busy Being Blue|
|12. Honky Tonk Angels' Medley: In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down)/You Nearly Lose Your Mind...|
The other reviewers have more than adequately covered the selections presented in this album, produced by the legendary Own Bradley who passed away ten years after its release at age 82. But I would just like to add that the last track, featuring k.d., Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, and Brenda Lee as The Honky Tonk Angels, pulls together in one of the most memorable performances three classic songs from the past.
The opening bars present In The Evening (When The Sun Goes Down) which was a 1949 R&B hit for both Jimmy Witherspoon and The Charles Brown Trio. From there they break into the Ernest Tubb 1948 classic, You Nearly Lose Your Mind, and then smoothly transfer to Blues Stay Away From Me, first done by Eddie Crosby in 1949, and then a year later by The Delmore Brothers and, for my money anyway, the best version of them all by The Owen Bradley Quintet with vocals by Jack Shook and Dottie Dillard.
In the insert you get a full page written by Mr. Bradley, a number of photographs, including one with him and the Hockey Tonk Angels, and a track-by-track listing of the musicians involved on each cut.
An album that will one day rival Carole King's Tapestry in the legends of recorded music.
The title track sets the tone, tapping into country music's wells of melancholy, although Lang's demeanor, persona and voice can't really be put squarely in the country camp. Her influences are much broader, including contemporaries like Chris Isaak, whose suave "Western Stars" opens the disc. Throughout, lang mixes hardcore country -- check out the opening chorus in the lovely "I Wish I Didn't Love You So" -- with what might be characterized as "1940's lounge," and sounds glorious. She could be equally at home in a smoky night club or at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.
By the time the stunning "Busy Being Blue" arrives, you may think you've never heard a voice like this. After a quiet introduction, the song builds until lang is completely engulfed in a rapturous, torchy wail. This is simply great singing, whatever genre. The final track, "Honky Tonk Angels," features Loretta Lynn and Kitty Wells, whose winsome, plaintive harmonies end the set on a sentimental high note.
The recorded sound is beautifully clear, fully capturing lang's huge cries as well as her quieter moments of lazy sensuality. From an artist who has done many fine recordings, this is one of her best, with influences new and old, and also one of the great recordings of the 1980's.
So... if you've heard a little k.d. lang, think you might like her and want to buy an album I'm writing to say that Shadowland and Drag are the two, of hers, that I like most. Not "Ingenue" which seems to be others' favorite (too boring) and not "Absolute Torch and Twang," in which, frankly I don't hear *absolute* torch nor twang the way I do in "Shadowland."
"Shadowland" has country music in its blood. Not bluegrass or Hank Williams country, and not recent-pop country. Lang has a style all her own. "Waltz Me Once Again Around The Dance Floor" makes me want to, and "Tears Don't Care Who Cries Them," beautifully sweeping, makes me want k.d. not to be the one crying.
This album has some faster (not extremely fast) songs--in a country, guitar, groove way--and it has slower, sweet, and smart songs of love and love lost. My husband commented to me that it sounds a bit 1940's to him; I'd go along with that.
I wouldn't hesitate to start with "Shadowland" as an introduction. I give 4 stars rather than 5 because, to me, 5 is perfection. 4 stars is the highest without eligibility for the Nobel Prize. Try out "Shadowland" if you're looking for some country-based music with a very female and surprisingly beautiful voice that is lush and interesting. k.d. lang has personality and her voice is truly quite lovely.