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k.d. lang - Hymns of the 49th Parallel - Nonesuch

For her debut on the distinguished Nonesuch label, k.d. lang’s new album is filled with songs that she says are “part of her cultural fabric, my Canadian soundtrack.” On Hymns, lang chose to cover songs written by some of her favorite Canadian singers and songwriters including Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Leonard Cohen, Ron Sexsmith, Jane Siberry, and Joni Mitchell.

Working again with her longtime producer Ben Mink, Hymns is a lush, relaxed, and confident collection of covers, yet she sings them all as if she wrote them herself. The performances are breathtaking and poignant, particularly her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelelujah.” If you’re a fan of Rufus Wainwright or Jeff Buckley’s cover of this Cohen classic, then you'll be knocked out by lang’s reading of this song.

k.d.’s vocals are always haunting and emotive and the album’s perfect pacing and arrangements only heighten the fairly straightforward takes on these songs. k.d.’s takes on these songs don’t really deviate from the originals, which is not only a testament to the songwriting but also to lang and her band's beautiful presentation of the material on this album.

Release Date: 7/27/2004

Written by Bruce Warren

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