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Diana Krall has taken a bunch of songs from the Twenties and Thirties and made them her own on new album Glad Rag Doll –with a little help from long-standing friend and new producer T Bone Burnett and husband Elvis Costello



iana Krall has had multi-Grammy-winning producer T Bone Burnett as part of her inner circle for years, but always vowed only

a very special project would pair them professionally. Across her nine previous studio albums the

Canadian songstress had worked with just one producer – Tommy LiPuma – and feared a studio link-up with Burnett might negatively impact on the close friendship she and husband Elvis Costello had with T Bone and his wife. But as the concept of her forthcoming new

album – Glad Rag Doll – started to take shape she quickly realised the producer of such acclaimed releases as Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’s Raising Sand was the man to deliver. Described by Krall herself as a “song and dance

record”, the October 15-issued Verve Records set largely comprises songs from the 1920s and early Thirties but with a contemporary take that could make you think they had been newly written rather than being 80 or more years old. Krall tells Music Week, long before

even getting around to thinking of recording, she had played a solo show of some of the songs in Montreal and then had made a piano demo tape of about 18 of them with the possibility they could turn into a solo piano album. “Then I thought I should let T

the way of that creative process,” says Krall, a multi- Grammy winner herself. “He knows because he’s an artist himself. He allows the artist to have the time to work it out and quietly comes up and says, ‘Yeah, why don’t you use try it like that?’ The whole vibe of the studio with couches and groovy lamps, the vibe of it is really loungy so we can all sit around. It feels like being in somebody’s house a little bit more. It feels more natural to play in an environment like that.” Even before she approached Burnett, Krall had

already drawn up a list of 35 possible songs to record with a deliberate policy they would not include tunes by the likes of Jerome Kern, Cole Porter and the Gershwins whose works had provided standout moments on some of her previous albums and had been covered countless times by other artists. “[This is] totally different. About 360 different,”

“I didn’t want to go to any of the Great

Bone got hold of this first and see what he thinks. So I approached him with the idea and he was just so totally into it and we worked so well together. I just love him. He’s such a brilliant, kind man and just puts his voodoo magic on everything. He’s unbelievable.” Krall, who made a point of getting personal

American – quote, unquote – Songbook. I’ve always sought out more obscure songs. This is purely from my dad’s record collection and some of it is not even records, just sheet music and not records either – 78s” DIANA KRALL

she notes. “I didn’t want to go to any of the Great American – quote, unquote – Songbook. I’ve always sought out more obscure songs, but they’ve always got drawn from Frank Sinatra and [arranger] Claus Ogerman’s influence and bossa nova. This [new album] is purely from my dad’s record collection and some of it is not even records, just sheet music and not records either – 78s.” As she reveals is her usual method, she put the 35 songs onto a couple of discs to play in her car as she looked to narrow down the selections. “I try to find my way and some of

them become influences on the others,” she says. “This is where T

approval from LiPuma before working with Burnett, describes the producer as “a really great director who knows how to cast and knows how to choose the right character to play the music”. “He knows how to get the best from artists. He lets artists just do what they do and doesn’t get in

Bone came in and we went through them. ‘What do you think? What do you think?’ ‘Oh no, forgot it. If it doesn’t work right away it doesn’t work.’ We had Side By Side, which we worked really hard on for a really long time because it was a great idea but eventually thought we’d leave it alone for a while and come back to it. Sometimes your best attentions don’t work and then sometimes things you don’t think will work, work brilliantly. That’s why you have to get in there and start playing the music and not really think about it too much.”


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