And so gentle readers, we come to the 23rd and last of my Linda Ronstadt reviews. If you missed any or would like to catch up, just go to the Blogcritics archives.
Hummin' To Myself was released by the 58 year old Ronstadt during November of 2004 and is her last solo studio release to date. It was a return to the pop/jazz formula which had served her so well on a trio of albums with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra during the 1980’s. Here, however, she eschews a big band and works with a small ensemble to support her interpretations of songs from The Great American Songbook.
As with many of her late career albums, it would only find moderate commercial success. It only reached number 166 on The Billboard Magazine Top 200 Pop charts, but did debut at number two on their jazz charts.
Her voice has remained intact during the course of her long career and has had no detectable deterioration. Here it retains its power, tone, and purity as it takes a stroll through some of the great pre-rock standards.
All in all, it’s an acceptable album with a number of excellent performances interspersed between some average ones which was typical of her later career releases.
The best of the lot are primarily centered on her vocal skills. “Tell Him I Said Hello” is a smooth ballad with a beautiful vocal. “Never Will I Mary” is a jazz swing tune and the final notes are some of the best she has ever recorded. “Cry Me A River” is a cover of the old Julie London ballad which she gets just right. “Miss Otis Regrets” was an interesting song choice for her, as it is a dark ballad which spins a depressing story and is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the material.
On the other hand “Ill Be Seeing You” is an average cover and adds nothing to the original. “I’ve Never Been In Love Before,” “Get Out Of Town,” “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” and the title song all fall into the average range which means nothing bad, but nothing memorable either.
Hopefully Linda Ronstadt has a few more solo albums left in her. Hummin' To Myself is an OK listen but does not stay with you. We’ll see what the future brings.