Erin McKeown - Sing You Sinners
While McKeown's voice is a little thin to pull off some of the bombast and sass needed to breathe complete life into these tired old jazz standards, but she does have fun with them. That sense of winging it, combined with excellent and playful arrangements, makes this a breezy and slight but never trite take on the standards genre. So while this may at first retch seem another in the long line of recent standards records, "Sing You Sinners" has a voice all its own, and an agenda that is far from cynical.
Her quartet keeps the feel rooted in her folkie style, and the addition of a three piece horn section gives the proper amount of jive to the covers, which don't so much swing as shuffle. That adds the grit that often compensates for McKeown's thin vocals. Still, not matter the big heart involved in the take, your enjoyment of tired warhorses like "Paper Moon" and "It Might As Well Be Spring" will depend on your willingness to give them one more try.
Better are the snarkier takes on "Thanks for the Boogie Ride," "Rhode Island is Famous For You" and the sole original track, "Melody," tracks where the band is clearly having fun slipping in and out of the past and present at will.
More fun that memorable, "Sing You Sinners" is an interesting departure for McKeown, a fun if slight romp that definitely works as a quirky a one-off.
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