I first became aware of vocalist Storm Large when she joined retro collective Pink Martini for last year’s terrific “Get Happy” release. Her smoky vocals added a lot to one of my favorite bands and I was very excited to get my hands on her latest solo endeavor “Le Bonheur.”
The new album is a fascinating collection of cover tunes — of everyone from Cole Porter and Jacques Brel to Black Sabbath and Lou Reed — that showcase Large’s masterful ability to turn even the most well-known songs into something uniquely her own. For good measure, there are even a pair of first-rate original tracks (“A Woman’s Heart” and “Stand Up for Me”) that lets her flex her writing chops.
Highlights abound on the 13-track platter, with Large soaring highest on Porter gems “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and “It’s All Right With Me,” The Righteous Brothers’ “Unchained Melody,” Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” Tom Waits’ “Saving All My Love for You” and Reed’s “Satellite of Love.” Highly recommended. (Jeffrey Sisk)