Rory Partin’s self-titled album (released today, get it here) is a wonderful collection of cover songs that will have you believing its the ’50s again.
What’s lovely is that not all of the tracks are older tunes – Partin mixes it up with a cover of a Hunter Hayes song, which was a nice twist.
Partin’s a natural; his vocals are polished and sure throughout the album. The big band sound is awe-inspiring, though not unexpected. I might be disappointed if it was a more paired down record.
The first track, a Duke Ellington number called ‘Don’t Get Around Much Anymore’, acts as a great introduction to the rest of the album. It’s a fun horn-heavy song with the vocals taking centre stage.
‘The Tender Trap’, the first of four Frank Sinatra covers, is next. The music takes a familiar fun-loving approach, complimenting the lyrics and vocal stylings. Partin’s voice rises and falls in all the right places, and his emotional connection to the track is clear. He didn’t just pick some songs, he carefully and artfully selected tunes that truly touch him.
‘Everybody’s Got Somebody But Me’, the Hunter Hayes track, really showcases Partin’s voice. He sings with a smile, and the song is calm, warm and inviting. Partin also released a music video for the cover. The video is fun, despite the lethargic topic (you can watch the video here).
‘Fly Me To The Moon’, meanwhile, is a jazzier take on the Sinatra classic. It’s possibly the simplest track on the album, and yet is easily one of the most beautiful. The song features a simple piano and highlighting flute, with a tinkling jazz symbol that periodically comes to light, but otherwise serves to slowly shuffle the track along.
With ‘Orange Coloured Sky’, Partin proves that he could very well have shared the stage with some of the greats that he’s covering, and quite possibly given them a run for their money. The track is fun – the music emphasizes certain lyrics for added effect, though it really is Partin’s vocals and musical persona that make the Nat King Cole cover a fun listen.
‘I Get a Kick Out of You’ is actually a duet with Alexa James. The duo work well together, and the song plays out like a scene from an old musical. The big band sound is full but not overpowering, and James’ voice doesn’t take away from Partin’s. Instead it compliments it, while still holding it’s own. ‘Jambalaya’ is more of a down South song with obvious Cajun influences, but Partin pulls it breezily off. Perhaps that’s because this Hank Williams cover also features Opry/Cajun star Jimmy C. Newman. The song still incorporates the big band sound that we’ve come to love and expect from Partin. His vocals are less formal, adding to the easy-going tone.
Finally, Partin’s paired-down version of the Louis Armstrong classic ‘What a Wonderful World’ is the perfect way to wrap up the album. The song truly showcases Partin and his vocals in the best light. They’re solid, but not over-produced; clean, but not lacking emotion.