Stony Plain Records Announces A March 24 Release Date
Stony Plain Records announces a March 24 release date for Yellowhead to Yellowstone, the new album from legendary singer/songwriter Ian Tyson; and Introducing… Sunny and Her Joy Boys, the debut Cd from singer Sunny Crownover.
Sunny and Her Joy Boys, the debut Cd from singer Sunny Crownover, backed by a band led by acclaimed guitarist/producer Duke Robillard.
Ian Tyson is perhaps best-known to mainstream audiences for his success with the folk duo Ian and Sylvia in the 1960s and as a songwriter, with tunes such as "Someday Soon, " "Navajo Rug, " and especially "Four Strong Winds, " which has been covered more than 100 times by artists ranging from Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan to Judy Collins, Marianne Faithfull and Waylon Jennings.
Yellowhead to Yellowstone is Ian Tyson's 14th album for Stony Plain and first since his 2005 release, Songs from the Gravel Road. The new album was recorded primarily in Nashville, with two tracks recorded in Edmonton, and produced by Harry Stinson, who's worked with a long list of major talents, including George Jones, Marty Stuart, Rodney Crowell and Steve Earle.
Tyson's songs on the new disc reflect on his life as a rancher in Alberta, Canada, and the prospect of facing his senior years (Ian is now 75 years old). The most immediate change long-time fans will hear on Yellowhead to Yellowstone is that Ian Tyson has a new voice: a grainy, gravelly, deeply emotional tone dramatically different from the smooth-voiced tenor heard on his classic recordings. The new voice is the result of several factors. "A couple of years ago, " says Tyson, "I played a big outdoor show in Ontario. I fought the sound system — and I lost. I knew I'd hurt my voice, and it was recovering slowly when I was hit with a bad virus, which seemed to last forever. My old voice isn't coming back, the doctors told me, so I've had to get used to this new one. Audiences seem to pay more attention, now, to the lyrics and the stories in the songs. And while I've lost some of the bottom end of my voice, the top range, oddly enough, is still there."
The eight new songs by Tyson (of the album's 10) cover a range of emotions and stories relating to Alberta's cultural landscape and the disappearing cowboy, as well as his personal life. The title song of the Cd was co-written by Tyson with Stewart MacDougall, and tells the story of a pack of wolves transported from the Yellowhead Pass to Yellowstone Park, where the species had become extinct — told in the voice of one of the wolves who made the journey. Another remarkable song, contributed by Toronto songwriter Jay Aymar, is about hockey commentator Don Cherry and the death of his beloved wife, Rose.
A regular performer at the Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in Elko, Nevada, Ian Tyson will be honored at the 25th annual event in late January with the presentation from his fans of a Lifetime Achievement Award: a custom-made, silver-mounted saddle created by the world-famous Hamley & Company. of Pendleton, Oregon.
Introducing… Sunny and Her Joy Boys is the brainchild of award-winning guitarist and producer Duke Robillard, and debuts the stunning voice of Sunny Crownover, whose beautiful interpretations of these tunes from the Great American Songbook are nothing less than a revelation. Sunny spent a large part of her life in the Dallas/Fort Worth/Austin area and is now based in New England. Robillard heard her sing for the first time in late 2007 at a Harvard University concert and knew he'd found the voice he was looking for to bring a project to life he'd been wanting to do for over 35 years.
That project became Introducing… Sunny and Her Joy Boys, a Cd that salutes the golden era of women vocalists of the '20s through the '50s, where big bands and small combos alike created classic American pop, swing and blues songs of the day. Robillard assembled a small all-acoustic group to provide sympathetic backing to Crownover's voice, with the talented Billy Novick on clarinet and alto saxophone, Duke and Paul Kalesnikow on arch top guitars and Jesse Williams on acoustic bass. Many of the tracks were done in one take, a testament to the chemistry between the singer and band.
Robillard delved into his encyclopedic knowledge of this music and put together an amazing group of songs that complement both Crownover's voice and also play to the band's musical strengths and sterling arrangements. Included are gems from the pens of such classic jazz and swing composers as Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn and Chick Webb, to Tin Pan Alley legends Harold Arlen, Ned Washington and Victor Young.
Some of the album's many highlights are the opener, "Strictly from Dixie, " originally popularized by Ella Fitzgerald; Walter Donaldson's "You're Driving Me Crazy;" the bluesy ballad, "That's My Desire;" the classic "Between the Devil and the Deep Blues Sea;" the gorgeous Ellington/Strayhorn composition, "I Don't Mind;" Billy Holiday's "Travelin' All Alone;" the seminal Ellington ballad, "I Got It Bad (and that Ain't Good);" and another great Chick Webb/Ella Fitzgerald hit, "Undecided."
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