Sing You Sinners

Sing You Sinners

by Erin McKeownErin McKeown


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With the rise of the Hollywood extravaganza and the ensuing decline of vaudeville, American music lost much of its kick and joie de vivre. However, with her album Sing You Sinners, Erin McKeown sets forth to single-handedly resurrect the wayward cast-offs of Americana and return them to center stage, but with a sparkle and humor that is a poignant reminder of an age long gone. Today, "Get Happy" is probably the best known song on the set, famously delivered onscreen by Judy Garland, but McKeown and her backing trio, further buttressed by a horn section, turn the song inside out, threading it through myriad musical styles, from its champagne piano intro across the shifting sands of jazz, into R&B and rock & roll, and out into '60s surf. In just over three minutes, "Get Happy" gleefully dances its way through three decades of music styles. "Paper Moon" is an equal classic, but now shines over the Caribbean in its new reggae-fied calypso gladrags. And of course, jazz fans will instantly recognize Fats Waller's "If You a Viper," but McKeown's vampish version is built around not piano, but her banjo and a walking bassline. Anita O'Day's "Thanks for the Boogie Ride" rode off in big band style; in contrast, McKeown drives it straight into rockabilly. Cole Porter's elegant "Just One of Those Things" now ebbs and flows between moody jazz, darkly ambient Bristol Sound (� la Massive Attack), and brooding surf. McKeown herself contributes one song to the set, "Melody," an exuberant, ragtime rave-up dedicated to the glories of melody itself. And it's melodies that McKeown loves, so she never disrespects them, showcasing each one's enduring qualities, while simultaneously creating stunning new musical backdrops for them. Bar "Melody," the songs all date between 1930 and 1955, while the arrangements travel even further afield, from the '20s into the '60s, capturing virtually the entire range of popular musical styles along the way. It's a toss-up whether McKeown had more fun with the arrangements or her vocal performances, but the entire set is imbued with a sparkle and a whimsical sense of humor that is absolutely infectious. In all the best ways, McKeown makes every one of these songs her own, most notably "Rhode Island Is Famous for You," so much so, that some fans mistakenly believe McKeown wrote the 1948 number. You'll never think of a cover song in the same way again, and to have created an entire set of such inspired versions is sheer genius indeed.

Product Details

Release Date: 01/09/2007
Label: Nettwerk Records
UPC: 0067003056427
catalogNumber: 30564
Rank: 127857


  1. Get Happy
  2. Paper Moon
  3. Coucou
  4. Melody
  5. They Say It's Spring
  6. I Was a Little Too Lonely (You Were a Little Too Late)
  7. Sing You Sinners
  8. Rhode Island Is Famous for You
  9. Something's Gotta Give
  10. Just One of Those Things
  11. If You a Viper
  12. Thanks for the Boogie Ride
  13. Don't Worry 'Bout Me

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Erin McKeown   Primary Artist,Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
Eric Bloom   Trumpet
Mark Chenevert   Clarinet
Dave Harris   Trombone
Todd Sickafoose   Upright Bass
Allison Miller   Drums
Sam Kassirer   Organ,Piano,Hand Clapping,Wurlitzer

Technical Credits

Harold Arlen   Composer
Ray Evans   Composer
E.Y. "Yip" Harburg   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Johnny Mercer   Composer
Cole Porter   Composer
T. Waller   Composer
Danny Bernini   Engineer
Sidney Mitchell   Composer
Merri Cyr   Cover Photo
Erin McKeown   Composer,Director,Producer
Dave Harris   Horn Arrangements
Billy Rose   Composer
Rita Houston   Interviewer

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