Kira Isabella: Love Me Like That (Sony)
Kira Isabella is a new and vibrant youngster on the Canadian country scene from Ottawa who is getting a righteous and generous push from her recording label.
This album came out a few weeks ago but the mighty Sony label is currently advertising it on TV and I really like Isabella’s chances for breakout success.
At just 20 years old (although this album was recorded while Isabella was still a teen) she is sometimes likened to USA superstar Taylor Swift while there are more obvious reference points to Carrie Underwood (who Isabella has recently opened for, as well as Terri Clark).
But Isabella is also a solid songwriter having penned almost all of the songs on Love Me Like That and she has a wonderful voice to round out things, not to forget her winsome, sexy girl-next-door appeal.
This triple threat would seem like a natural for immediate success as Isabella can appeal to young country fans while she sometimes plays up her more adult themes (not unlike the young Swift) on the guitar-driven country rockers Blame it On Your Truck, A Little More Work and Dangerously Obvious.
Isabella can also carry a fine ballad with the title track yet offer a breeziness to young love on A Real Good Radio.
This is a fine first effort and Kira Isabella is a talent to watch especially given the substantial song writing abilities while the videos I saw proves the camera loves her.
As Recorded At
Garden (Sony Legacy)
Here is a very cool re-issue for the ultimate Elvis fan as this two-CD set offers two separate concerts that were recorded on the same day 40 years ago in New York’s most famous venue.
This “Anniversary Deluxe” package includes, of course, the original album but remastered while the second disc offers the hitherto unreleased afternoon concert (as I am led to believe because I thought just about everything Elvis ever recorded was already on the market) that featured three more songs.
At this time in his career Elvis was on a revitalized rebound and a few years before his drug addictions would overtake and kill him. As a result Elvis is in amazing form, backed by an eight-member band (most notably James Burton on guitar), a full orchestra and more than a half dozen backup singers including the wonderful female gospel trio The Sweet Inspirations.
There is some delightful Vegas-styled fromage here with the loopy Also Sprach Zarathustra, Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey intro and the glitzy orchestral end theme with the classic “Elvis has left the building.”
It is something to behold hearing Elvis just ripping through these songs where I am sure even the band, who watched every move and gesture from The King, where surprised when, just 25 seconds into Blue Suede Shoes, he calls for them to “bring it on home” to end it.
There are many sub-two minute rendering of songs here, while the medley of Teddy Bear/Don’t Be Cruel clocks in at a truncated 1:51 while there are more standard length hits here such as Never Been To Spain, Suspicious Minds and ironically, Funny How Time Slips Away.
There are some interesting liner notes in the 24-page booklet but most importantly the sound here is fabulous, especially the bass that gets a fine makeover from the excellent remastering.
Lang Lang: The Chopin Album (Sony Classical)
I guess the title of this album gives most of the contents away as Chinese classical piano superstar Lang Lang works his way through several very well known Chopin Etudes and Nocturnes along with the occasional polonaise and a waltz or two.
He has recorded 21 short pieces on this lengthy album where Chopin’s most acclaimed and recognize d composition is saved for the penultimate track here with Waltz in D-Flat “the minute waltz” while the closing tune Tristesse is taken from the children’s film The Flying Machine with vocals from actress Heather Graham.
Lang Lang has been praised and adored by classical fans for several years although he is still a very young man of 30 years. He is a very prolific recording artist so I suppose it makes sense that this disc is loaded with 20 tracks over 75 minutes.