GREGORY PORTER - Nat King Cole & Me

GREGORY PORTER Nat King Cole & Me Decca/Blue Note [Release date 27.10.17]

Gregory Porter has shot to fame from his jazz background to become a major name in the jazz and soul world. On his latest release he pays homage to one of his major musical influences Nat King Cole.

It is big production affair as he is backed by a 70-piece orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza, who has worked with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Robbie Williams and Bjork in the past.

Porter has a wonderfully smooth and soothing singing style, which fit the interpretations of the Nat King Cole classics with ease. The orchestra really bring the music to life and highlights include ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ and ‘Mona Lisa’, plus Porter does his own song ‘When Love Is King’ in the style of Nat King Cole.  Well if you’ve got access to an orchestra be rude not to use it! ‘The Christmas Song’ is included as Porter, and more likely his record label, have an eye on the Christmas market.

It’s not rock, however as an easy on Sunday morning or wind down album it makes perfect listening, as it is easy on the ear. Gregory Porter will doubtless reach a new set of fans with his run through some of the Nat King Cole songbook, as Cole’s music is still popular to this day. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

DYED IN BLUE Moment Of Leaving

DYED IN BLUE Moment Of Leaving www.dyedinblue.com

Dyed In Blue hail from Canada and feature vocalist/guitarist Patrick Grehan and Harem Scarem drummer Creighton Doane. The Harem Scarem connection is further strengthened as Harry Hess mastered the album.

Musically Dyed In Blue play straight ahead melodic rock with a bit of an alternative rock edge. ‘By The Breeze’ and ‘Missing 66′ are both good, solid tunes that catch the listener’s ear, however elsewhere there is nothing overly memorable. It is well played and produced as you’d expect given the personnel involved. Worth a look and listen on the band’s website. ***

Review by Jason Ritchie

KIRSTY MERRYN She & I [Release date 09.11.17]

‘She & I’ is the debut album from Kirsty Merryn who has been championed by amongst others Steve Knightley of Show Of Hands, who guests on the moving ‘Forfarshire’. The latter, like all the songs on the album features a woman at the centre of each song. The family story ‘The Pit and The Pugilist’ is a fascinating family tale of her great-great-grandfather Tommy Mithell who was a miner and boxing champion.

Not only is the music and singing strong, the stories behind each song are fascinating like the tale of Annie Edson Taylor, the first person to ever go over Niagara Falls in a barrel and survive. That story is featured on ‘Queen Of The Mist’ and ‘Delilah and Samson’ is a superbly delivered murder ballad where Kirsty Merryn is joined by Luke Jackson.

There is a lot of young and talented musicians in the folk scene at present and Kirsty Merryn is a talent to watch based on this album. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

JOE HENRY Thrum earMUSIC [Release date 27.10.17]

Fourteenth solo album by Joe Henry who seems to have flown somewhat under the mainstream musical radar with his own music. However, he is known more as a producer with Joan Beaz and Allen Toussaint amongst others.

An album that requires you full attention, from the lyrics through to the musicianship which includes a string section and sublime sax playing from Levon Henry.

The New Orleans funeral song ‘The Glorious Dead’ and the acoustic guitar playing on ‘Hungry’ are stand outs. Hopefully Joe Henry will gain more plaudits and listeners with his latest collection of moving and thought provoking songs. ***1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

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