With Sing It Loud, k.d. lang aims for the "Canadian folk festivals" and nails the mark. In an interview with the National Post, the Alberta-born singer talks about a return to the "musical territory that started it all."
And so it is. Sing It Loud finds lang melding crooning with country, digging in with a subtle vocal twang and some serious heat. The former Red Deer College student certainly pulls in all of her love of Patsy Cline, too, drawing on that infamous warmth.
Former Guster member Joe Pisapia factors heavily on Sing It Loud. Once lang was introduced to him on tour, the foundation for this album emerged. She headed to Nashville to start putting down some songs, assembled a quartet of players to create the Siss Boom Bang and began the process of laying out the record.
Sing It Loud carries with it all of the energy that its rapid, unlikely formation packs. The songs are gauzy and bright, built from the freshness that new creative partnerships can spawn. lang sounds youthful, peaceful, determined. The crooning — that alarmingly great voice — still sits where it should, but there's a breeziness to the pieces that let lang lay back a bit.
"I Confess" starts the record off well. Desert-dry guitars create a balmy tapestry, while lang's vocals draw on the song's dramatic underpinning. "Now I know that letting go was my mistake," she sings with a hint of Elvis rolling through in her delivery. "I confess, I'll be your daddy."
"The Water's Edge" clip-clops into place. More twangy guitars collide, but lang's vocals are somewhat more sensitive this round. She closes her phrases with a touch of sweetness.
The title track is also smoothly pleasing. Highlighted with sparks of banjo and lang's delicate tone, it's the perfect accompaniment to sitting on the porch with a couple of choice beverages.
True, lang doesn't exactly stretch the boundaries of country-pop with Sing It Loud. But she has accomplished what she set out to accomplish. These are songs that feel like grass between toes, like soft rain, like tender love. lang's decision to dial back the big moments is worth more than a few sun-kissed spins.