Stories » Madeleine Peyroux - Secular Hymns / New Zealand Herald review

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Madeleine Peyroux - Secular Hymns / New Zealand Herald review

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Until now Madeleine Peyroux's debut album Dreamland, released when she was 22 and still fresh from busking on the streets of Paris, has remained my favourite of her now six studio albums. However, my favouritism is now being seriously challenged by this new release, Secular Hymns. Saint Mary's church in the tiny village of Great Milton in Oxfordshire provided the inspiration when Madeleine's trio played there last year.

So arrangements were made to return to this Norman era church and lay down the appropriately titled Secular Hymns. Madeleine with John Herrington on electric guitar and vocals and Barak Mori on upright bass and vocals have made a powerful set of jazz and blues infected tunes. They've also reached into the songbooks of some heavyweight writers, among them Willie Dixon, Allen Toussaint, Townes Van Zandt, Kansas Joe McCoy, Bill Doggett, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Tom Waits.