Every new Cassandra Wilson album is a special treat in its own way. Her deep smokey voice is one of the listening world's great treasures.
In this collection of nine new numbers and two wonderfully loose-limbed covers of 'O Sole Mio'. ('O Sole Mio Funk' is a particularly delicious re-imagining of the old Italian warhorse!) Ms Wilson delivers the goods in her inimitably warm tones; her vocal prowess imbuing every word and note with rich emotion.
Her instrumental ensemble accompanies her with subtle understanding. Both Fabrizio Solti (guitar and no second fiddle!) and Julien Labro (accordion) provide a beautifully wrought backdrop to Ms Wilson's consummate performances. (Mr Solti has his moment in the spotlight too with the lovely acoustic solo 'Deep Blue').
There's nothing not to love here. The shuffling moody blues of opening track 'Red Guitar'; the exotic Latin samba rhythms of 'Almost Twelve'; 'When Will I See You Again', with its atmospheric minor key shifts, mercurial guitar lines and sublimely measured vocal and 'Letting You Go', a second showcase for Mr Fabrizio, which amply displays his romantic soul and impeccable technique.
If I had to pick a winner, however, it would have to be 'No More Blues'; a performance to rank with Ms Wilson's very best. An understated tour de force.
After the disappointment (for me anyway) of Silver Pony I awaited the arrival of the is album with some excitement and it really does deliver. This is her most laid back and joyous recording since "Belly of the Sun" and has much to enjoy. The band is kept to a bare minimum with mainly just guitars and accordian and some light percussion. The stripped down effect seems to suit Cassnadra and lets her husky vocals float out front rather than be swallowed up up by an ensemble with a bigger sound. The songs are great and none more so than "Red guitar" and "No more Blues" where the lyrics,music and the performances are just spot on. Guitarist Fabrizio Sotti gives the whole album a different dimension with some gorgeous Flamenco'ish guitar (despite being Italian) that gives the album a different feel to all of Wilson's previous albums. Lets hope she records with him again ! This one's a gem so buy and enjoy.
"Another Country" is Cassandra Wilson's ninth studio album released on the Blue Note record label. She has chosen to collaborate with a number of different musicians including Fabrizio Sotti, an accomplished guitar player. This album is a consistent recording with a relaxing feel to it and all of the songs are carefully chosen to blend together as an ensemble.
The pleasant opening track "Red Guitar" has a distinctive Blues influence and the peaceful "No More Blues" is driven by Fabrizio's acoustic guitar playing. "O Sole Mio" has a strong Latin influence and is a laid back guitar and accordion led ballad with some lovely Spanish vocals from Cassandra. "Deep Blue" is a nicely composed acoustic guitar led instrumental written and arranged by Fabrizio Sotti. "Almost Twelve" is an uplifting mid-tempo South American inspired song and so is "Passion" with some lovely guitar playing once again. "When Will I See You Again" is a much more melancholic and romantic song with a passionate melody and longing lyrics. My favorite song on this album is the title track "Another Country" which has such a simple yet beautiful and emotional melody. "Letting You Go" is another guitar led instrumental penned by Mr Sotti and my second favorite song "Olumororo" has an African children's choir accompanying Cassandra's deep vocals conbined with a very sweet melody and arrangements. The final song "O Sole Mio Funk" is, as the title suggests, a Funk inspired remix of track 3 and ends the album on a positive note.
Cassandra Wilson manages to create a wonderful atmosphere on "Another Country". The melodies are subtle and inspiring, the lyrics are just as thoughtful as usual and the music is well arranged and composed. I am very pleased that Cassandra has returned with such a strong album as I was a little worried after listening to her previous release "Silver Pony", but now I am reassured once again.