Madeleine Peyroux (Per-Roo) first received attention on her Atlantic Records debut album, Dreamland, released back in 1996. With a beautiful approach to Jazz, she exhibited a voice not unlike Bessie Smith. In fact, she was being called a “21st century Bessie Smith” because her voice demanded she be recognized.
That album was a great entrance. Since the release of Dreamland, Madeleine Peyroux moved about in Paris for many years. She eventually returned to the States to sign with Rounder Records, and release her first album in almost ten years, Careless Love (2004). Careless Love was – and still is – a revelation of extraordinary songs that include a beautiful cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic, “Dance Me To The End Of Love”. But Careless Love showcased far more than her effectual ability to uniquely cover a Cohen track. On it, she also covers Bob Dylan (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”), Elliot Smith (“Between The Bars”), Hank Williams (“Weary Blues”), and the beautifully sung “This Is Heaven To Me”.
After Careless Love, Madeleine Peyroux released four more albums including the brilliant Careless Love follow-up, Half the Perfect World (2006). That album gave us more excellent covers like the Leonard Cohen/Anjani tracks, “Half The Perfect World”, and “Blue Alert”. There is also the Joni Mitchell composition, “river”, sung on with k.d. lang. Of course, as with Careless Love, there is much to love. She returned in 2009 with her final Rounder album, Bare Bones, an album with original, individually penned songs, some with assistance from a few songwriters.
After her Rounder years, she released two on EmArcy Records. Those albums include Standing On the Rooftop, released in 2011, which was a great collection of covers and originals, again, some with collaborators, and her most recent, The Blue Room, released in 2013. On September 30, Rounder Records will release a ‘best of’ collection of some of the better than great tunes from her three-album tenure with them. The Greatest Hits set will be titled Keep Me In Your Heart A While: The Best Of Madeleine Peyroux. It will be nice to have a single set with the ones I have returned to so often. Even if each album was a joy to hear all the way through.