Sunday, June 24, 2018

Jennifer Warnes Another Time, Another Place 2018

Jennifer Warnes has made a living from her TV and movie soundtrack work, and since 1987 at least, has graced us with the music she has wanted to make, regardless of commercial appeal or other non-artistic gauges. Famous Blue Raincoat 1987, The Hunter 1992, and The Well 2001 were all rewarding on many levels, and all three were pristine recordings that have made fans for Warnes among audio enthusiasts. Now, a mere seventeen years after her last release, we get Another Time, Another Place.

This is a very mellow affair, so those looking for another First We Take Manhattan or even Rock You Gently will be a bit disappointed. But get into the gentle flow here and there are some treasures to be heard.

Song selection is very good, both for the diversity as well as how each song fits Warnes. Either that or she just makes the songs hers. Eddie Vedder's Just Breathe opens the record and sets the bar high with his ode to love and mortality. A walking bass line and slinky Hammond B3 illuminate the "will you still love me" of Tomorrow Night. John Legend's Once I Was Loved gets a lovely string quartet arrangement. Grez Liesz and Dean Parks' atmospheric guitars give Mickey Newbury's So Sad a perfect, aching setting.

I Am The Big Easy features Sonny Landreth on resonator guitar for authentic New Orleans credibility. The record closes with Mark Knopfler's Why Worry, a soft ode to love pure and simple that Warnes sings with perfect tone and soul.

Not everything works perfectly. Freedom plays with The Well's big choir sound almost successfully, and there's maybe a bit too much tenderness. But all of the selections benefit from smart arrangements executed by the cream of the studio crop. In addition to Greg Leisz and Dean parks, there's Vinnie Colaiuta (drums), Lenny Castro (percussion), Jim Cox (keys), and producer Roscoe Beck (bass), and other great musicians.

But what you are here for is to hear Jennifer Warnes sing again, and that we get in spades. Always a pitch-perfect singer, Warnes is also spot on with the emotion the song calls for. There's restraint here in the singer, the band and the production that leaves us to hear deeper into these sweet songs.

I'm surprised she made another recording. I'm not surprised it's this good.