Every Star Above
BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd
Mandy Barnett is sometimes referred to as “the country Judy Garland”, a modern day torch singer – a Nashville chanteuse. She’s a country singer but her ability to carry the depth and breadth of a tune and sell the story of a song has always been wider than just one genre. Country has been the pigeonhole – that changes here with this album. A tribute to Billie Holiday, specifically the Lady in Satin album – this classic set of standards (the songs have been recorded by so many other big names in vocal music – Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Barbra Streisand) is here given the full 60-piece orchestra recreation; the feel is glorious. Instrumentally, this is a compelling piece – and then Barnett’s voice just lifts every song and places is back in Old Hollywood glamour.
I loved M. Ward’s recreation of the Lady in Satin record – very different to this – and now a sincere and tender re-creation of the record, where it is about reminding audiences of the old-world charm of these songs.
And what songs.
But Beautiful. I Get Along Without You Very Well. The End of A Love Affair. You Don’t Know What Love Is. Each one its own mini noir epic.
Barnett goes full Streisand on the versions of I’m A Fool To Want You and You’ve Changed, she absolutely shoots for the stars on opener, But Beautiful and she can frame the small moments within this widescreen re-take. For Heaven’s Sake, for instance, is a gentle lean-in moment – the song held in a tender caress by Barnett’s voice and then the orchestra breaks out to take the melody for a wee stroll. Shades of kd Lang to the vocal treatment. So beautiful.
A gorgeous treatment.