Half the Perfect World

Peyroux' new album arrived a distinctive treat for her fans, especially in terms of their endurance. While they endured an eight year hiatus between her first and second releases, her latest comes after only a mere two year wait.<P> The new album is once again a few originals sprinkled though a bunch of interpretations in Peyroux' captivating style. Singer/songwriter Jesse Harris co-wrote 3 of the 4 originals, although not the album's first single "I'm All Right" which was instead co-written by Steely Dan's Walter Becker, a song which was originally intended for a Becker solo album.

Peyroux is unusually contemporary in her material on Half the Perfect World. In addition to the originals, Peyroux also performs two songs released earlier this year written by Leonard Cohen and jazz singer Anjani Thomas: the title cut and the song "Blue Alert." These songs were first heard on Thomas' own album this past spring.

Despite that fully half of the songs on the album are newly written, several of the covers are rather well-traveled terrain, songs that might sound a bit shopworn in lesser hands. The winter classic "River" by Joni Mitchell or Fred Neil's theme from 'Midnight Cowboy,' "Everybody's Talkin'" are not exactly unfamiliar tunes. Somehow, though, Peyroux is able to find a fresh perspective on these oft-covered songs and enlivens them in her own version. "River" is particularly enhanced by a guest appearance by K.D. Lang.

Other songs performed include the Johnny Mercer classic "The Summer Wind," "(Looking For) The Heart of Saturday Night" by Tom Waits, "La Javanaise" by French singer Serge Gainsbourg, and one by Charlie Chaplin, the album-closer "Smile."

Half the Perfect World continues the high standards Peyroux set for herself and is an ideal album for these cold nights, for listening to warm music and a great voice.

Mike Sauter, WYEP Music Director