KELLEY SUTTENFIELD — When We Were Young

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KELLEY SUTTENFIELD - When We Were Young cover
4.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 2019

Tracklist

1. Harvest Moon 5:29
2. Heart of Gold 3:51
3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart 4:49
4. The Losing End (When You're On) 4:02
5. Flying on the Ground 4:57
6. The Needle and the Damage Done 5:23
7. Love Is a Rose 2:50
8. Down by the River 6:13
9. Fool for Your Love 3:20
10. Barefoot Floors 4:32
11. Old Man 4:32

Line-up/Musicians

KELLEY SUTTENFIELD vocals
TOSH SHERIDAN guitars, back-up vocals (3, 4)
MATTHEW FRIES piano, Fender Rhodes (2, 5, 7)
PHIL PALOMBI double bass
ERIC HALVORSON drums, percussion (2, 5, 7, 10)
THE MEMLING ENSEMBLE STRING TRIO (2, 3, 6, 8, 11):
DEREK RATZENBOECK violin,
VINCENT LIONTI viola,
DAVID CALHOUN cello

About this release

self release

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates

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KELLEY SUTTENFIELD WHEN WE WERE YOUNG reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

js
Right now Kelley Suttenfield’s “When We were Young” is my number one pick for sleeper surprise masterpiece for this year, and unfortunately, its also an album that may fly under the radar and be missed by many who would enjoy it because she is not yet well known. On paper the idea of a female jazz singer covering the songs of Neil Young looks like the sort of thing that could go wrong in many directions. Do we really want to hear Neil’s classics treated to adventurous chord substitutions, metric modulation or scat vocalizing. Of course we don’t, and thankfully you won’t find any of that on Kelley’s sublime covers of both well known and somewhat obscure Neil Young compositions. Sattenfield and her small backing group keep things cool and relaxed and don’t try too hard to make the songs more ‘jazzy’, although it should be no surprise that many of Young’s songs are very similar to classic pop jazz tunes in the first place, particularly “Fool for Your Love”. It also helps that Kelley’s band mates all have diverse backgrounds and can dish out the country, folk and rock licks that are needed to keep Young’s songs sounding ‘real’.

One of the first things you may notice about Suttenfield’s interpretations of Neil’s lyrics is that she never changes his words to fit her gender. All of the lyrics that Young sings about his relationship with women remain as is which creates a very interesting atmosphere in which we are hearing Neil’s thoughts from a curiously feminine side of himself. If she had changed the words the album would be much less mesmerizing in its exploration of Young’s yearnings for his ‘better half’. In some ways the album sounds like Young’s lover has discovered his personal diary and is reading his thoughts out loud to herself.

The arrangements on here are outstanding, deceptively simple, but always serving the song, not the musicians. A string trio is used economically here and there and the keyboards and guitar engage in occasional short solos to help build momentum. Kelley’s vocal delivery is very much of the ‘cool’ school, but on songs like “The Needle and the Damage Done” and “Down by the River” she belts out some emotional chorus buildups. “When We were Young” has so much crossover potential and if given some decent promotion could find fans in the worlds of folk, country, pop, vocal jazz and classic rock. Do give this one a try, its probably better than what you are expecting.

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