Hymns of the 49th Parallel

( 8 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Blessed with one of the most beautiful voices in contemporary pop music -- is there really any competition? -- k. d. lang can turn any song into an emotional tour de force. Throughout her career, she's mixed collections of her own compositions with songbook-style albums of interpretations, from her forays into countrypolitan on 1988's Shadowland through 2002's collaboration with Tony Bennett on Louis Armstrong–affiliated standards. On Hymns of the 49th Parallel, lang mines her native Canada for source material and comes up with a stunning set of understated ballads. Opening with Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," lang mixes establish masters such as Joni Mitchell ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Steve Klinge
Blessed with one of the most beautiful voices in contemporary pop music -- is there really any competition? -- k. d. lang can turn any song into an emotional tour de force. Throughout her career, she's mixed collections of her own compositions with songbook-style albums of interpretations, from her forays into countrypolitan on 1988's Shadowland through 2002's collaboration with Tony Bennett on Louis Armstrong–affiliated standards. On Hymns of the 49th Parallel, lang mines her native Canada for source material and comes up with a stunning set of understated ballads. Opening with Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush," lang mixes establish masters such as Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen with younger upstarts like Ron Sexsmith, Bruce Cockburn, and Jane Siberry. Wisely, she lets her voice take center stage while still being a model of restraint; most arrangements build on a singular piano or acoustic guitar line bolstered by soft background strings and a delicate rhythm section, and there's none of the bombast here that lang occasionally indulges in. As a point of contrast, she reprises her own "Simple" from Invincible Summer and improves on the original by simplifying it even more, slowing it down and expanding its range of emotions. Whether the song is very familiar Mitchell's "A Case of You," Cohen's "Bird on a Wire" or less so Siberry's "Love Is Everything," Sexsmith's "Fallen" lang treats it with aching sensitivity.
All Music Guide - Mark Deming
In 1988, Stompin' Tom Connors, the most fiercely patriotic Canadian musician to ever take the stage in the land of the Maple Leaf, wrote a song in tribute to fellow Canadian k.d. lang for continuing to hang her hat in Alberta after enjoying a commercial breakthrough in the United States. It's hard to say what Stompin' Tom thinks about lang these days, now that she's an out-of-the-closet lesbian, an animal rights activist, and gulp spending most of her time in America, but it's a good bet he approves of Hymns of the 49th Parallel, in which lang turns her attention exclusively to the work of Canadian tunesmiths. Anchored by classic songs from Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, and Leonard Cohen all of whom rate two songs each, Hymns of the 49th Parallel is not so much a flag-waving celebration of Canada as an appreciation of the often spare and evocative style of its best-known lyricists or at least that's the case with the material on board, and lang and frequent collaborator Ben Mink have matched the selections with production and arrangements that are simple and to the point, with only a piano/bass/drums trio for accompaniment though a string section pops in every once in a while. With her phrasing subdued and her projection scaled back from the big-as-all-outdoors sound of her early days, lang seems to have kept her own instrument in check as well, though her best moments still inspire a very real awe. Though lang has chosen some superb songs and written a fine one herself in the album's only original, "Simple" and performed them with obvious love and affection, Hymns of the 49th Parallel seems oddly lacking in passion; perhaps in deference to the frozen North, this album has a cool and frosty undertow that seems designed to hold the listener at arm's length, despite the inarguable beauty of its craft. Perhaps for the follow-up, she should bring in Stompin' Tom for a duet on "The Hockey Song" to liven things up.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/27/2004
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597984729
  • Catalog Number: 79847
  • Sales rank: 7,655

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 After the Gold Rush
  2. 2 Simple
  3. 3 Helpless
  4. 4 A Case of You
  5. 5 The Valley
  6. 6 Hallelujah
  7. 7 One Day I Walk
  8. 8 Fallen
  9. 9 Jericho
  10. 10 Bird on a Wire
  11. 11 Love Is Everything
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
k.d. lang Primary Artist, Vocals
Deodato Conductor
Teddy Borowiecki Piano, Accordion, Keyboards
Clayton Cameron Drums
Larry Corbett Cello
Brian Dembow Viola
Stephen Erdody Cello
Armen Ksadjikian Cello
Ben Mink Acoustic Guitar, Fiddle, Electric Guitar
David Piltch Electric Bass, Bass Guitar, Acoustic Bass
David Stenske Violin
Cecilia Tsan Cello
Sara Parkins Violin
Tiffiany Yi Hu Violin
Cynthia Fogg Viola
Ralph Morrison III Violin, Concert Master
Technical Credits
Leonard Cohen Composer
Jane Siberry Composer
Bruce Cockburn Composer
Joni Mitchell Composer
Neil Young Composer
Deodato String Arrangements
k.d. lang Composer, Producer, Audio Production
David Leonard Engineer
Bob Ludwig Mastering
Ben Mink Producer, Digital Editing, Audio Production
David Piltch Composer
Ron Sexsmith Composer
Andy Goldsworthy Cover Photo
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    In love since the blue plastic fringed dress...

    How sad for those of you that are just discovering the most amazing voice to come into my life, ever. I'm a 67 year old "hip"pie and I fell in love with k.d. when I first saw her on the Tonight Show with her Calgary band, The Reclines. This CD is like all of the rest her BEST EVER. I was overwhelmed and continue to be. This is a voice straight out of heaven and in this CD she is better than ever. I was also fortunate to catch the k. d. and Lyle tour so saw her sing Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as it's never been done. It made a grown man cry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Awesome

    I knew nothing about K.D. Lang until a friend gave me this CD. If I had a voice like hers, I would never stop singing. She is awesome and I was immediately hooked. I could listen to her songs endlessly, and probably do.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    How Did I Miss Her?

    I don't know how - in my taste for all kinds of music - and radio channels - I missed k.d. lang. I saw this CD advertised and decided it sounded worth trying and I listened to it three times just the first day that I bought it. She has this incredible voice that I just can't get over. I love it - every song on the CD. I have never heard a voice like hers and so now - I will buy her others. The songwriters deserve accolades, too, as these songs are really good and the music excellent. What a voice this woman has!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding

    We received this as a gift and have truly enjoyed it over and over again. It is perfect "dinner" music, Sunday morning music, or really just anytime. Smooth, sultry, raw - quintessential k.d.lang

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Absolutely merzmerizing! 20 stars!!

    Sit back, kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and get ready to be drawn into a deep relaxing trance from which you will not want to leave. k.d.lang's smooth velvety voice, and these soft meloncholy songs will take you there. Never mind that you have never heard of any of these songs. k.d. lang refuses to waste her beautiful voice by conforming to the ever so tiresome 'radio play' songs you hear day in and day out. This music makes her voice sound like liquid gold. Encore Encore!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    k.d. at her best

    That voice, the selection of music, that voice and the poetry she sings makes this one her all-time best!!! Put this on, turn down the lights and you are morphed to one of the world's greatest concert halls where the air is filled with a powerful yet delicate menu of folk/jazz/pop blended togther so masterfully, the only possible reaction is "WOW."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    long time lang lover

    Real, pure, sensual, heartfelt; a high honor to the Canadian musicians she is representing. k.d. never fails to give the best that she has to give. And it's good to see Ben's name again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Very Relaxing

    All of these songs are full of soul and sung straight from the heart.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews