Vocalist Catherine Russell''s third album for World Village is a wonder, pure and simple. On this collection of 13 songs, titled Inside This Heart of Mine, the thread that ties it all together, is the special place these songs hold inside the heart of the singer. Let''s describe that heart. It''s warm and effusive, bluesy and erudite, bold yet vulnerable, passionate yet ethereal. Starting to get the drift? If not, then listen to Catherine''s masterful reading of ''Troubled Waters,'' a seldom heard tune scored by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, performed here as a sultry meditation, reaching deep into the cockles of one''s being. This decades spanning collection, originally performed by the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Peggy Lee, Maxine Sullivan, Howlin'' Wolf, Wynonie Harris, Fats Waller, and Catherine''s father, Luis Russell, draws from Vaudeville wit, Tin Pan Alley tune craft, New Orleans swagger, Swing Era sock, the European Cafe, Jump Blues jive, modal Delta Blues, and Django-esque swing, with an immediacy and a timeless quality that''s refreshingly oblivious to current ''trends.'' Catherine''s third album represents a deepening of a well-established, tried and true, approach. The elements from her previous releases: an off the beaten path song selection, sparkling small group acoustic swing, and a stunning vocal approach, will satisfy the already initiated, while winning over legions of new converts. Inside This Heart of Mine is a personal selection of gems from the 1920''s through the Present; vital interpretations, bursting with soul and humor.
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