CD reviews for Dec. 14 | SteamboatToday.com

CD reviews for Dec. 14

Margaret Hair

Jens Lekman

“Night Falls Over the Kortedala”

Swedish singer/songwriter Jens Lekman is brutally honest, even if none of his stories are true.

Take “It Was a Strange Time in My Life,” a track toward the end of his lushly arranged sophomore album, “Night Falls Over the Kortedala.” Like most of the songs here, Lekman’s lyrics start out a little boring (every detail of a conversation), a little too specific (all the hand gestures in that conversation), a little unbelievable (he takes a vow of silence). Then he drops a line: “People seem to think a shy personality equals gifted/But if they would get to know one I’m sure that idea would have shifted/Most shy people I know are extremely boring.”

Backing his songwriting with ’70s disco beats, ’50s doo-wop vocals and ’40s horn arrangements, Lekman’s made a record that’s easy on the ears, and constantly on the move – even if his subjects are all basically the same, and potentially made up.

Rating: ””’

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– Margaret Hair, 4 Points

Rufus Wainwright

“Rufus Does Judy Live at Carnegie Hall”

If there were a young, male singer/songwriter who could do justice to Judy Garland’s legendary one-woman show at Carnegie Hall, it would be Rufus Wainwright. He’s got the personality, the overriding lack of self-confidence draped in sparkly dresses and nice shoes.

He doesn’t, unfortunately, have the right vocal range. And while Wainwright’s renditions of Garland’s renditions of classic showtunes are heartfelt – his crooning on “Over the Rainbow” is about as sincere a recording as you’ll find – his characteristic monotone doesn’t stand up in front of a full orchestra and packed house.

No doubt this performance is more stunning live, with Wainwright in full drag, backed by a band that is as glitzy as anything in Carnegie ever was. The stories he tells between songs are endearing, often hilarious, always honest.

Probably the strongest point of Wainwright’s performance isn’t the performance itself, but rather that he knows the girth of this project, and that he doesn’t take it lightly.

Rating: ”’

– Margaret Hair, 4 Points