Hymns of the 49th Parallel (Remaster) k.d. Lang
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- 1After the Gold Rush04:01
- 4A Case of You05:12
- 5The Valley05:31
- 7One Day I Walk03:25
- 10Bird on a Wire04:28
- 11Love Is Everything05:43
Info for Hymns of the 49th Parallel (Remaster)
Hymns of the 49th Parallel is the ninth studio album by Canadian singer and songwriter k.d. lang, released in 2004. It is an album of songs by lang's favourite Canadian songwriters, and also includes a new version of her original composition 'Simple' that initially appeared on her 2000 album Invincible Summer.
After tackling almost every conceivable musical style from country to disco to standards, K.D. Lang goes back to her roots with „Hymns of the 49th Parallel“, covering songs by the greatest songwriters of her Canadian homeland. It should surprise no one to find Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen among the composers whose work is honored here. Lang tackles two songs each by these titanic artists, lending her agile, velvety voice and deceptively easy grace to each, accompanied by a small, acoustic-based combo dominated by piano.
Ron Sexsmith, Bruce Cockburn, and Jane Siberry might not be household names on the order of the aforementioned trio, but they're entirely worthy of the passion with which Lang approaches their tunes here, a particular point of transcendence being achieved on Cockburn's gentle, folkish 'One Day I Walk.' 'But wait,' you cry, 'what about Gordon Lightfoot, Ian Tyson, and the McGarrigle Sisters?' Don't worry; with a talent like Lang's, it's entirely reasonable to assume she'll be on the scene long enough to get around to „49th Parallel PT. II“.
„In 1988, Stompin' Tom Connors, the most fiercely patriotic Canadian musician to ever take the stage in the land of the Maple Leaf, wrote a song in tribute to fellow Canadian k.d. lang for continuing to hang her hat in Alberta after enjoying a commercial breakthrough in the United States. It's hard to say what Stompin' Tom thinks about lang these days, now that she's an out-of-the-closet lesbian, an animal rights activist, and (gulp) spending most of her time in America, but it's a good bet he approves of Hymns of the 49th Parallel, in which lang turns her attention exclusively to the work of Canadian tunesmiths. Anchored by classic songs from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen (all of whom rate two songs each), Hymns of the 49th Parallel is not so much a flag-waving celebration of Canada as an appreciation of the often spare and evocative style of its best-known lyricists (or at least that's the case with the material on board), and lang and frequent collaborator Ben Mink have matched the selections with production and arrangements that are simple and to the point, with only a piano/bass/drums trio for accompaniment (though a string section pops in every once in a while). With her phrasing subdued and her projection scaled back from the big-as-all-outdoors sound of her early days, lang seems to have kept her own instrument in check as well, though her best moments still inspire a very real awe. Though lang has chosen some superb songs (and written a fine one herself in the album's only original, 'Simple') and performed them with obvious love and affection, Hymns of the 49th Parallel seems oddly lacking in passion; perhaps in deference to the frozen North, this album has a cool and frosty undertow that seems designed to hold the listener at arm's length, despite the inarguable beauty of its craft. Perhaps for the follow-up, she should bring in Stompin' Tom for a duet on 'The Hockey Song' to liven things up.“ (Mark Deming, AMG)
k.d. lang, vocals
Ben Mink, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, fiddle
Teddy Borowiecki, accordion, piano, keyboards
David Piltch, acoustic bass, electric bass
Clayton Cameron, drums
Ralph Morrison III, violin
Sara Parkins, violin
David Stenske, violin
Tiffiany Yi Hu, violin
Brian Dembow, viola
Cynthia Fogg, viola
Larry Corbett, cello
Stephen Erdody, cello
Armen Ksadjikian, cello
Cecilia Tsan, cello
Recorded at Conway Recording Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Engineered by David Leonard, Dave Leonard
Produced by k.d. lang, Ben Mink
k.d. lang is that rare performer who, over 25 years as a major-label artist, has matured before our very ears. The Western Canada native launched her career with a blend of country-rock stylings and playfully punk-like attitude, by turns whimsical and subversive; back then, she practically put the alternative in alt-country. But from the very beginning, her bravura singing belied her kitschy cowgirl outfits and spiky hair; anyone lucky enough to attend very first appearance in the United States, on a triple bill of unsigned artists at New York City's Bottom Line, could hear that she was marked for greatness.
After independently releasing A Truly Western Experience; on a Canadian label in 1984, which generated serious major-label interest in the States, lang joined Sire/Warner Bros. at the behest of Seymour Stein for her 1987 U.S. debut, Angel With A Lariat, produced by one-time Rockpile guitarist Dave Edmunds and cut with her then-band the Reclines. 1988 follow-up Shadowland brought lang—rather daringly—right to the heart of Nashville for a countrypolitan-themed collaboration helmed by legendary producer Owen Bradley, mentor to lang's idol, Patsy Cline, as well as to Brenda Lee. (In fact, Lee, Loretta Lynn, and Kitty Wells make a guest vocal appearance on the album's "Honky Tonk Angels' Medley.") Though the Nashville establishment may have remained skeptical about lang, Shadowland reached #8 on the Billboard Country album chart.
But lang wasn't looking to be pigeonholed. Her 1989 Grammy Award-winning Absolute Torch and Twang (Best Female Country Vocal Performance) combined her love of country with increasingly sophisticated, emotive torch singing typified by "Pullin' Back the Reins." With the 1992, platinum-selling Ingenue she had fashioned a sound—if not a genre—all her own: an elegant and impassioned adult contemporary approach. That yielded her biggest hit, "Constant Craving," as well as another Grammy, this time for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. On subsequent releases, lang continued to both fine-tune and expand the parameters of her songwriting and her repertoire. All You Can Eat (1995) was the most experimental, as challenging as it was fun; the smoking-themed Drag (1997) underscored her gifts as an interpreter, utilizing material by composers ranging from Steve Miller and Air Supply to Jane Siberry and Andre and Dory Previn. Invincible Summer (2000) was perhaps her most sultry, a collection featuring bossa nova inflections and dreamy electronics.
With Hymns of the 49th Parallel, her 2005 Nonesuch Records debut, lang presented her most compelling set of material by other songwriters—all of them, in this case, fellow Canadians—as well as a gorgeous version of her own "Simple." lang's interpretation of Leonard Cohen's oft-covered "Hallelujah" is understatedly stunning; with good reason, it has become, along with her breathtaking cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying," an in-concert showstopper. Her most recent studio release, the beautiful and self-assured Watershed, was, as the title suggests, a pivotal moment for lang—her first effort acting as producer along with singer and songwriter. The Times of London declared: "It's a quirk of the music industry that one of the sexiest, most sensual voices in all of pop music comes not from some raven-tressed siren in a glitter-dress but a middle-aged woman with a utility haircut and a penchant for male tailoring." lang herself called the album "a culmination of everything I've done—there's a little bit of jazz, a little country, a little of the Ingenue sound, a little Brazilian touch." Along the way lang garnered two more Grammys, eight Juno Awards in Canada, and Canada's highest civilian award, The Order of Canada.
lang's work has been regularly featured in movies—the lang/Orbison duet version of "Crying" was originally recorded for a teen comedy called Hiding Out—but her most powerful work in the visual medium has been on those songs she has created especially for films. She collaborated with composer Bob Telson (Gospel At Colonus) on "Barefoot," the haunting theme of German filmmaker Percy Adlon's cult classic drama, Salmonberries, which also happened to star lang as a mysterious young Alaskan orphan. With Siberry, she wrote and performed the incantatory "Calling All Angels," from the 1991 soundtrack to Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World, a song that has had a deservedly long life on its own.
Along with Siberry, lang has collaborated, in the studio and on stage, with many other pop and country performers, including Bonnie Raitt and Elton John. But her best-known collaboration has been with veteran crooner Tony Bennett, with whom she recorded the 2002 Wonderful World duets album and continues to tour regularly, often in symphonic settings. Bennett may, in fact, be her biggest fan and he declared to the press what so many fans have come to believe over the last two and a half decades: "She's the best singer of her generation."
This album contains no booklet.