This soulful effort, Careless Love, by Madeleine Peyroux is a breath of
fresh air on the jazz scene. The comparisons to Billie Holiday are undeniable,
and the quality of her voice is sultry and metallic at the same time. Peyroux
finds the sweet spot in every note where one would least expect to hear it. Her
sense of timing is as natural as a heartbeat and as undulating as an ocean wave.
In Careless Love, Peyroux sings Leonard Cohen’s, “Dance Me to the End of
Love” and elicits visions of a smoky jazz club. The raw acoustic sound is clean
and highlights Peyroux’s milky smooth voice. “Don’t Wait Too Long,” which
Peyroux co-wrote with Jesse Harris and Larry Klein (who also wrote for Norah
Jones), is an upbeat, toe-tapping song that showcases this guitar strummer’s
street singing days in Paris. Peyroux covers Hank Williams’ “Weary Blues” as
well as Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” turning a
folksy ballad into a bluesy, wanton love song.
Peyroux has the languid voice that is unmistakably reminiscent of the great
“Lady Day,” but this is no imitation. Peyroux has a sound that is hers and hers
alone. “I’ll Look Around” is Peyroux at her best. Naked and pure, her voice is
liquid gold and honey.
Madeleine is folk and jazz, bayou and front porch blues.
Careless Love is sexy and sophisticated and worth a spot in any
collection. I would like to hear Peyroux handle the contemporary arrangements
and melodies that the great ladies of the past were unable to do. Peyroux can
bring her sultry wisdom to the naïve offerings that try to be the real deal.