by Paula Cole

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Once ubiquitous, as her "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" was a staple on adult alternative radio and "I Don't Wanna Wait" served as the soundtrack to turn of the millennium teen soap Dawson's Creek, Paula Cole suddenly disappeared after her third album, Amen, failed to live up to the commercial expectations set by her 1996 breakthrough, This Fire. Throughout the 2000s she stayed quiet, raising her newborn daughter as she worked toward reviving her muse, eventually resurfacing in 2007 -- a decade after the peak of her popularity -- with Courage, her first album for Decca and her first album in eight years. Immediately, it's apparent that this is worlds away from the stylized worldbeat and vague electronica leanings of Amen, never sounding as self-consciously restless as that album. Not that Cole has abandoned her refined eclecticism -- she dabbles in gentle bossa nova beats on "Hard to Be Soft," duetting with Brazilian singer Ivan Lins -- but never once does Cole sound as strained in incorporating hip-hop beats and electronic textures as she did on Amen. Instead, she sounds relaxed as she eases into a subdued collection of songs jazzy enough to justify Herbie Hancock's cameo on "Lonely Town." Such casual sophistication reigns here, but Courage doesn't sound like a clean break from her past, or a contrived attempt to refashion herself for Norah Jones' audience; the opening "Comin' Down" and the Patrick Leonard collaboration "14" sound like This Fire, only a little more settled yet managing to sidestep slickness while emphasizing her gentle, insinuating melodies. While Courage may stray into sleepiness on the ballads, it nevertheless always flows naturally even at its slowest moments and that comfortable feel is the most appealing thing about the record, since it's evident in the unhurried songs and the unstrained performances. It may be low-key, but Courage certainly qualifies as a successful comeback from a singer/songwriter who had seemed lost to the Lilith Fair era.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/12/2007
Label: Decca
UPC: 0602517190603
catalogNumber: 000829202

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Paula Cole   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals,Hand Clapping
Ivan Lins   Vocals
Billy Childs   Piano
Herbie Hancock   Piano
Steve Khan   Guitar
Jeremy Lubbock   Conductor
Jeff Lorber   Organ,Keyboards
David Foster   Piano
Hassan Hakmoun   Sentir
Chris Botti   Trumpet
Chris Bruce   Guitar
Paul Buchanan   Vocals
Mark Goldenberg   Guitar,Keyboards
Melissa "Missy" Hasin   Strings
Billy Kilson   Drums
Gina Kronstadt   Strings,Concert Master
Greg Leisz   Pedal Steel Guitar
Tony Levin   Bass
Dean Parks   Dulcimer,Guitar
David Piltch   Bass
Jamshied Sharifi   Keyboards
David Stenske   Strings
Ian Walker   Bass
Shari Zippert   Strings
Jay Bellerose   Percussion,Drums
Susan Chatman   Strings
Edmund Stein   Strings
Rudy Stein   Strings
Brahim Fribgane   Percussion
Tim Christensen   Strings
Billy Childs Trio   Piano,fender rhodes
Caroline Buckman   Strings
David Palmer   Piano,Keyboards,Melodica
Peter Bernstein   Conductor
J'Anna Jacoby   Strings
Jimmy Johnson   Bass

Technical Credits

Jeremy Lubbock   Arranger,Composer
Jeff Lorber   Arranger,Composer,Engineer
Hassan Hakmoun   Composer
Paula Cole   Composer
Bobby Colomby   Producer,Audio Production
James Farber   Engineer
Mark Goldenberg   Composer
Kevin Killen   Engineer
Patrick Leonard   Composer
Dean Parks   Composer,Engineer
Greg Phillinganes   Composer
Schmitt   Engineer
Todd Whitelock   Engineer
Steve Genewick   Engineer
Pat Barry   Art Direction
Fredrik Sarhagen   Engineer
Pablo Munguia   Engineer
Kathleen Robertson   String Contractor
Bill Airey Smith   Engineer
Peter Bernstein   Arranger,String Arrangements,String Conductor

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