A New Voice Joins the Pantheon (off-topic)

I have long loved the majesty of magnificent singers, beginning with the Messiah as a child.

This continued through my world-shattering exposure to Johnny Hartman, the greatest male jazz/pop vocalist of all time, Etta James and Gloria Lynn in my early introduction to jazz (like my daughter’s reaction the first time she had curry at a restaurant, “Mom and Dad, what is this and why have you kept it from me?” [having Mid-west Baptist taste buds, I am suspicious of anything with intense flavor and consider curry to be inedible] I had the same reaction to discovering jazz), and on to the sublime Linda Ronstadt as a late adolescent. Over the years I created my own pantheon of greatest contemporary/pop singers. Admission to this company is very restrictive, to the point where even Miss Linda came up just a smidge short.

At the very top of the female vocalist food chain is the utterly incomparable Jennifer Warnes, whose long-time collaboration with Leonard Cohen was one for the ages. The fact that SRV played geetar on this album was a cherry on top. Alas, her album output has been way too sparse.

Next up is Eva Cassidy, who like Elvis, is far more successful in selling records after death than before. Her angelic voice and musical interpretations is never far from my ears, especially when I am in my truck. This performance of “Fields of Gold” was so captivating its composer vowed to never perform the song again. And, her rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” is intoxicating. These performances were from her last public appearance, she was already weakened by her terminal illness.

A half step behind Warnes and Cassidy are the magnificent Alison Krauss and Deborah Holland, the vocalist with Stewart Copeland and Stanley Clark in their short-lived Animal Logic. Alas, she recorded only two albums before leaving high-profile performing to become a music professor.

Recently I stumbled across a new (to me) musical group, Lake Street Dive, an intoxicating group of musicians and composers who formed as students at the New England Conservatory of Music more than a decade ago, each brilliant in their own way. Their singer, Rachel Price, is someone I could listen to all day, and she is the first addition to my Pantheon of Singers, Female in two decades. (Michael Buble is the only male inductee in recent times).

Give her/them a listen and see if I am right.

PS My new compewder is due today, so as soon as I get it up and running I will be back to “normal” blogging. I could post this one only because it required no image files from my external file archive.