Thursday, November 13

Review of Michael Ball's new CD If Everyone Was Listening

I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of Michael Ball's new CD  If Everyone Was Listening which is due for release on 17th November prior to his new concert tour of the same  name which starts next April.   

The 15 tracks which Michael has chosen to record are a mix of individual classics and contemporary songs spanning the years 1960 to 2013.Every song features beautiful lyrics including songs by singer/songwriters Sarah McLachlan, Jason Mraz, John Martyn or  interpreters of lyrics like Alison Krauss and Anne Murray.

Because a number of the tracks were new to me I ended up listening to the album four or five times and have to say that by the end of this time I found it refreshingly different to his other albums and really love it.  Stand out tracks for me were I Won't Give Up (Jason Mraz), You Needed Me (Anne Murray), May You Never (John Martyn)  and the Oscar winning Falling Slowly from Once the Film and Musical.

It's a  change in direction for Michael, steering away from the popular standards and show tunes he usually records as he says :when I was deciding which tracks to record for this album, I was delving back into my own music collection and was inspired by listeners of my radio show who seem to share similar music tastes That encouraged me to make this my most personal album yet. People who know me know how hands on I am with any project I undertake so it won’t come as any surprise to anyone that I took a very active role in the producing and arranging of all these songs.”

There are four classic songs from his  teenage years: ‘Still The Same’ soft rock hit from Bob Seger, ‘You Needed Me’ the Grammy award winning song sung by Anne Murray in 1978; ‘May You Never’ by legendary folk/jazz/blues singer John Martyn and ‘If Everyone Was Listening’ by Supertramp.

This album shows that Michael is a  big fan of country music which has inspired some of the choices on the album such as Jace Everett’s ‘Bad Things’ (the theme from the hit TV series True Blood) Jake Owen’s ‘What We Ain’t Got’ and the multi-Grammy winners Lady Antebellum duo, whose ‘Need You Now’ becomes a solo.  Although he says It’s by no means a country album, I just feel that the genre continually produces great songs which can be interpreted in many ways.”


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