Musicians diverse as Natalie Cole and Michelle Branch have been touched by the legendary voice of Patsy Cline -- one of country music's all-time great stars. Cole and Branch are among an impressive lineup of female vocalists who have gathered here to pay tribute to a legend.
This 12-song tribute to the vocal artistry of Cline got its inspiration from the Cline album, 12 Greatest Hits. Although her career spanned only eight short years (she died in 1963), Cline's music lives into the 21st Century and in the hearts of the female artists she continues to inspire.
Cole does a jazz vocal take on the Cline standard, "I Fall to Pieces," composed by Harlan Howard and Hank Cochran. Norah Jones delivers a jazzy honky-tonk version of "Why Can't He Be You." The singer explains in the CD liner notes that Cline's music inspired her as far back as when she was 12 years old. Smoky jazz is also on the menu when Diana Krall steps up to the mic on Cline's greatest hit, the Willie Nelson-penned "Crazy."
Contemporary Christian artist Amy Grant has fun with the sweet and simple "Back in Baby's Arms." New rock singer Branch takes on "Strange," while country songstress Lee Ann Womack handles the vocal gymnastics required on "She's Got You." Newcomer Rebecca Lynn Howard's "You're Stronger Than Me" isn't so much country as it is a contemporary pop vocal; it's a real updated spin on vintage Cline.
Of course, k.d. lang could be counted on to turn in a heartfelt and most tasteful contribution -- afterall it was Cline's records which convinced the Canadian singer to turn from folk to Owen Bradley-produced orchestrated country a la Cline. She sent in a lush and emotional version of "Leavin' on Your Mind."
Terri Clark gives it the ten-gallon hat treatment -- with husky vocal and twangy back-up -- to "Walkin' After Midnight." Singer/songwriter Patty Griffin's pipes fit as neatly as Cline's did with the John and Bob Wills composition "Faded Love."
And for the finale, Martina McBride and vocal group Take 6 handle "Sweet Dreams (of You)" completely a cappella. The unusual pairing results in the perfect breathtaking show closer.
Patsy Cline is truly a favorite voice in the history of American popular music. It's unlikely that her songs and her style will go out of fashion any time soon but it sure is nice to have this little reminder of Cline's artistry. No matter what the season or what combination of vocalists interpret her, Patsy Cline is an American original.
By Danielle Santiago