In sync with the traditional seven-year itch scenario, k.d.lang’s divorce from country was an expected if not welcomed event. From her roots in “the kitsch, punk aspect of country,” she fell from the scene after a seven-year journey that she said “explored her influences in singer-songwriters and performers like Peggy Lee.”
Enter Reintarnation, her new album (which uses a word the Washington Post describes as “coming back in life as a Hillbilly”) is a wonderful re-visit to the ‘Patsy Cline’ vocal chords that captured us all, if for a moment, in the first place!
Her style of injected twang is just the right fix to move her away from her recent ‘crooner’ status, and back in to the ears and hearts of Grand ‘Ol Opry listeners everywhere. Amazing how age and maturity can smooth out the best wines as well as a “Cowpunk with the Blues”
“[Doing this compilation] got me thinking about juxtaposing where I’m at right now, which is kind of a crooner, which is quite opposite, in an external way, from where I started.”
k.d. lang teams with longtime collaborator Ben Mink, who helped to write and produce most of the records in that first seven year span. ” Like having a beer with an old friend, and picking up where you left off.” An old friend in deed, together the two of them present such songs as Trail of Broken Hearts, It’s Me, and Luck In My Eyes, all three from her breakout album Absolute Torch And Twang, in a new yet unretouched manner that lets her showcase the best of the old with a flare of the new.
By far my favorite is oddly enough, one of the very songs that led to her eventual break away from country and western, Pullin’ Back The Reigns is a sulty slow display of the blues in her own unique style.
“We really tried to let the songs be, and you eventually settle into the beauty of what existed. It’s a process, ut once you respect what existed, it becomes its own beautiful thing.”
k.d.lang (lower case on purpose, by her preference), was maybe a little too stark and forward during the first romance, but I have a feeling that the second time will be the charm, no third time needed. Comprised of twenty great songs from her first foray into the scene, she is masterful in keeping the faith, while turning a new sound on old ears again. This is an album to fill a hole in country music’s heart, for sure.