Barb Jungr - Walking in the Sun - Rainbow Network
05 November 2006Rainbow Network
Barb Jungr has just released her fifth album, "Walking in the Sun", and it's a collection of songs, most of which are covers, but perhaps few of which you'll actually have heard before.
Who is Jungr? An accomplished and eclectic singer, she has been called the English Edith Piaf. Having come to prominence through her performances in Edinburgh, Jungr's shows are a mixture of torch songs and edgy cabaret. With a background in ethnomusicology and an interest in all forms of traditional music, she fuses jazz, blues and folk influences. Basically, it's all about the song.
And songs are the hook on which this latest album hangs. Two Bob Dylan compositions, a Randy Newman piece, Carole King and others less known, but these are not generally standards. Instead, these are the kinds of songs that someone who really knows about music would choose and with her beautiful voice, which is high and clear, sensual and rich, Jungr brings her own personal interpretation to these songs. At times it seems as though she's channelling Peggy Lee or Nina Simone, at others she could be revisiting an earlier incarnation, for example her rendition of Run On For a Long Time is reminiscent of her work with The Three Courgettes.
"Walking in the Sun" is an album for more sophisticated listeners. It has a sparse, smoky, after hours atmosphere and, should you be a rare muso with a Linn listening device, you'll be able to enjoy the genius of this album's innovative technical production.
Furthermore, with this album you'd be forgiven for doing a double-take. Jungr has transformed from a slightly tough-looking woman into a complete glamour puss. Her hair is big and blonde and she looks as though she really has been walking in the sun! Spooky. But despite the sunshiny title, this album has its dark moments. The jazzy arrangements may be easy on the ear, but the lyrics tell tales of heartbreak and anguish.
At this stage I should declare my personal interest in this work: unbeknownst to me, my friend Jessica Lauren accompanies Jungr on organ, harmonicas, bass piano and backing vocals. It's a thrill to hear her on such a lovely recording, indeed although this is a solo piece of work, the supporting musicianship is outstanding.
Lastly, you may be interested to hear that "Walking in the Sun" is about to be supported by a tour. Jungr's recent shows have been sell-out successes, so don't leave it too late until you buy a ticket!
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