The Blue Room

The Blue Room

Madeleine Peyroux is one of the finest interpretative singers of the early 21st century. She isn't a performer who chases a retro feel, but rather a singer whose technique is rooted in the blues, jazz, and soul music of the pre-rock era. Many rock singers have found idiosyncratic ways to over-sing their material. By comparison, Peyroux under-sings. Here, she and producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock) set out to explore the influence of Ray Charles' legendary genre-busting 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, where Charles didn't lean into the obvious trademarks of C&W but imbued the songs with his personal wisdom in R&B, gospel, and blues. Peyroux doesn't cover that album, though several songs ("Bye Bye Love," "I Can't Stop Loving You," "Born to Lose," "You Don't Know Me") are shared between the two. The Blue Room instead takes inspiration from the earlier album's open and accepting philosophy. Randy Newman's "Guilty," Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire," and Warren Zevon's "Desperadoes Under the Eaves" transport from their private environs to Peyroux's playground, where she treats them as her own children.

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