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on August 31, 2009
Madeleine's musical training came on the streets of Paris, where she started as a busker, then after a street-corner audition she got a gig singing with the Lost Wandering Blues and Jazz band, performing songs by artists such as Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Fats Waller.
Her previous albums Madeleine Peyroux:Careless Love and Half The Perfect World sold over a million copies, earning critical-acclaim for her Jazz-Blues interpretations of works by artists such as Leonard Cohen and Edith Piath.
When she went "missing" in Britain while promoting her breakthrough album "Careless Love", her record company couldn't wait to tell the media.
How better to differentiate Maddie from the rest of the jazz-lite crew than by painting her as a wayward chanteuse? She hadn't disappeared, of course. She'd simply become bored with the promo-circus and gone back to New York. And who could blame her?
But Madeleine didn't need a vanishing act to raise her above her rivals. Her smoke-and-honey vocals, Billie Holiday phrasing, and breezily bohemian way with classy material had assured her fanbase.
They won't be disappointed by her new release, "Bare Bones", produced by Joni Mitchell's ex, Larry Klein.
She has built a career on interpreting the works of other people.
Her sensitive, exquisite voice, reminiscent of the great jazz singers of our yesterdays has added her signature 'postmodernist coolness' (LA Times) and fresh brushstrokes to the work of artists including Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Hank Williams and Serge Gainsbourg.
"Bare Bones" is her 4th solo album and her third with Rounder Records.
It's her most personal, intimate and almost confessional album: she had a hand in writing all the 11 tracks, including collaborations with producer Larry Klein, Walter Becker, Julian Coryell, Joe Henry, David Batteau and Sean Wayland : her intimate readings of original and contemporary love songs evoke emotions laid bare.
It's a daring high-wire act for the 34-year-old singer who for the first time is working without the safety net of covering songs associated with her favourite musical acts, mostly from the past.
With "Bare Bones", Maddie has crafted her best album yet, an artistic breakthrough that finds her sublime voice wrapped around a collection of soulful, silky late-night songs that she helped craft from their inception, marking her evolution as a songwriter. One song, "I Must Be Saved", was written entirely by Peyroux.
While the surface of the songs she sings has an easy-listening quality, there are chasms of emotional turmoil lurking beneath.
She says the album builds from wariness, to loss, to acceptance, and finally to hope.
"I'm really happy that I got to write", she adds, "It feels like a new segment, and it's great work. I'm surrounded by beautiful sounds, really honest musicians, really honest playing".
In fact, the musicianship is excellent: a small group of top notch artists underscore perfectly the languid and bluesy singing of the unusual diva: organist Larry Goldings, pianist Jim Beard, drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, plus producer Klein on bass, his new wife, Brazilian Luciana Souza - who, by the way, is a guest on all Larry Klein produced albums - on bckgr vocals, Dean Parks on guitar, and Carla Kihlstedt on violin.
"It's an exhilarating mixture of fear and self-confidence, in a way...And, obviously, because I am a very new writer, I'm kind of discovering myself by watching audiences' takes on this stuff".
She will always be a busker. Her bohemian upbringing ensures it. Her eschewing of the trappings of celebrity proves it.
And maybe this time around as well, sometimes soon she will vanish just to resurface some days later in another corner of her world.
"Peyroux's soul and melting voice stands out, ways out, from the pack". - TimeOut
Maddie, who said she spent time in a domestic violence shelter as a child, is donating $1 from every ticket sold on her current tour to local charities affiliated with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
My favourite tracks: "Instead", "River of Tears", "You Can't Do Me", "Love and Treachery" and "Something Grand", which she wrote "in support of the new era with Barack Obama".
The album debuts at # 1 of Billboard Top Jazz Album.
Issue date: 2009-03-28
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