Every now and then it is an utter privilege to experience a performance, something that just gets under the skin and underscores the saddest regrets and silliest whatevers. Barb Jungr has always has had that skill. She can take the most known track in the world, redress it, make you hear every vowel and sentiment in the newest, it’s-surely-always-been-done-like-that-hasn’t it way? I swear Barb could do the Ghostbusters theme and leave you in floods. Her earlier take on Wichita Lineman and I’m A Believer alone are beyond sublime. They featured on an earlier must-own album, The Men I Love – The New American Songbook (2010).
Interpretation is an oft overlooked skill, often mistaken nowadays for just covers. But in understanding how a song’s lyrics work and can speak to her (and an audience), Jungr has now teamed up with folky funsters Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen (they are not folky funsters and Jungr knows it) to create Hard Rain – a new work cherry picking the tracks to her that are deliberately not a bowl of cherries. Simply and astutely avoiding the obvious tracks from both artist, Jungr and her pianist and album producer Simon Wallace have crafted a passage of memories, angers, regrets, defiances and – as Barb herself has fun with – sometimes utterly ridiculousness.
Jungr doesn’t shy totally from the obvious. She unthreads Blowin’ In The Wind beautifully with just the slightest hints of bitter defiance the decades of hindsight (and more bloodshed) have made sadly more pertinent. This is not an album from the perspective of age old politics. This is Barb knowing full well a sharp lyric and musical point can be done afresh. And in creating a real performance of an album, Barb’s Hard Rain show is an utterly immersive and special thing.
Maybe one day Barb On Bond will be a thing….
For more on Barb, her work and Hard Rain click here.
Hard Rain – The songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen
Released on 24th March 2014 on her own label Kristalyn Records through Absolute Marketing.
Hard Rain is produced by Simon Wallace and featuring Gary Hammond, Neville Malcolm, Steve Watts, Clive Bell and Richard Olatunde Baker. Available at all major record stores and online from 24th March 2014