Sunday, 24 July 2016

CD Review: Cheyenne Jackson – I’m Blue, Skies (2013)

“Straight to my guts there you go again
You're killing me don't even know it when…”

I’m a bit of a sucker for a musical theatre actor releasing albums of original material as opposed to collections of the same old standards and so Cheyenne Jackson’s first album I’m Blue, Skies was already off to a winner with me. And by the time the joyous drive-time pop of the first two tracks ‘Before You’ and ‘I’m Blue Skies’ had passed, I was completely hooked. And peering closer at the credits offers at least part of the reason, empress of pop Sia co-wrote a bunch of the tracks.

She actually met him backstage after a performance of Xanadu and a fast friendship was born. And it was creatively fruitful too – ‘She's Pretty, She Lies’ folds in tinges of country into its pop and ‘Don't Look at Me’ is simple, stirring balladry at its best, thus one gets the sense that Jackson’s song-writing was further empowered to explore all points inbetween. So we get cheery duets like You Get Me (feat. Charlotte Sometimes) and the most positive break-up song ever in the soaring ‘Don't Wanna Know’.

Jackson’s voice is something of a marvel and as it stretches from baritone loveliness to strong tenor to startling but gorgeous falsetto (‘Mr. Lonely Boy’ demonstrates the scope of this range perfectly), it’s hard not to be thoroughly engaged with the entire album. As summer threatens to break out, it’s bound to sound even better with the top down, or at least the windows, as you drive to someplace only Cheyenne can take you to.


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