Saturday, February 16, 2008

k.d. lang's latest recording, Watershed

Watershed Review (published February 15, 2008 North Shore News)
- Stephanie Kiernan \Rating: 7 out of 10

It’s two years short of a decade since k.d. lang gave way to writing and recording her own music, she now comes to us at the age of 46 without frills, props or stunts, pouring forth Watershed – a collection of 11 original songs.
Whether a case of artistic drought or a self-imposed retreat, there is something more innate and profound yet to be unearthed within her mellow scale and tune. Perhaps it’s her found spiritualism as a Buddhist that accentuates the sincerity of these pieces.
Watershed gently trickles through restrained, tolerant and mild sounds that leave little trace of our Prairie prancing cowgirl. Kathy Lang emerges soulful from her quiet L.A. existence to write, perform and even produce her latest endeavor that will take her on full tour of North American dates including an impressive three-night stand in New York – not too shabby.

From the frisk and frolic of Invincible Summer to the honour of reminiscing Canadian classics on Hymns of the 49th Parallel, not to mention the duets with the iconic Tony Bennett, k.d. lang still reminds us of a throw-back of sorts.

What seems to make this album tick is an inconspicuous blend of all her incarnations – but all softening of edges. Tender jazz influences like the bossa nova reverberation gelling with steel guitar and rustic banjo, plush piano and string congealing magically with her distinguished vocals. From the push off of track one, I Dream of Spring (her confessed personal favorite) melding into Je Fais Le Planche and Coming Home, it’s subdued delivery that is uncomplicated and natural; just as our homespun chanteuse has become - at ease and comfortable in her own skin, unpretentious and ever humble.
Whatever her secret in maintaining such strong appeal, Watershed melds and drifts across a Sunday morning playlist like a meditation, easily absorbed through the most brittle of senses.

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