Tremonti Didn’t Just Do It On A Whim
No, this is for the National Down Syndrome Society, so this is worth your time and money, but it also isn’t just about the profits of the album being given to them, as;
‘The album was curated as a gift…’
Distorted Sound tells us, I’ve also seen comments about the proceeds of this album being given to the Society. This is all excellent news.
But the album itself is fraught with concerns.
The Covers Conundrum
Some are famously better known than the original – take Soft Cell’s version of ‘Tainted Love’, for example – but in my view, a song being redone should have one of 2 qualities;
- the song is radically different so that it has a new life but contains the kernel of the original.
- the song has to be done better than the original
And that goes double when the songs are done by an icon. Here Tremonti, well known from Creed, Alter Bridge and…Tremonti has chosen the music of perhaps the icon of icons.
Tremonti Sings Sinatra
And he doesn’t half have a good go. He succeeds for several reasons;
He Links Back To The Past
The horns, the brass, is a swollen, fecund joy, as juicy as a bowl of fruit; Mark Tremonti has done the right thing in reaching out to Sinatra players who are still with us.
It shows respect for the past, the legacy, and also shows that this project means more than just a lounge annexe to his usual releases.
Tremonti has said on his own website;
‘For years, Iʼve loved singing along to Frankʼs songs…One night, I found an old video of him performing ʻThe Song Is Youʼ from 1944. It made me want to dive into his vocal approach. I was all in and I wanted to do something with it.’
and the love of these songs is apparent here. Mark Tremonti nurtures them, presents them, and holds them up; then he gets inside them and makes them swing.
Another sticking point. You want it to be similar to Frank’s, but not an impression, to have the essence and the range, perhaps even some of the phrasing, but not too often.
Tremonti relaises this. And his voice is at times remarkably close to the sound Sinatra got, not that the voice is close to his, it’s more of a feel; when we begin with ‘I’ve Got You Under My Skin’, he has a tonal quality which doesn’t have the richness, bit does have a little of the sharpness, the danger that made the bobby socksers swoon.
Here, the horns, the trumpet breaking out in particular; add the embellishment.
The Song Choices
Something else fiendish. You have to have the hits, but do you include all of them or go a little left field?
Tremonti does both; we have an entirely expected but comforting ‘You Make Me Feel So Young’ but he also does deep, ‘Wave’ doesn’t often break on the turntable and here it’s given an acoustic guitar solo and a low note that Tremonti keeps singing, almost as if he can’t believe he could hit it.
He also mixes it up a little, ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ has a flute dancing around almost too jauntily, but it’s certainly a feature, whilst a slightly slowed ‘Luck Be A Lady’ loses all the urgency of the feeling that if this bet doesn’t come up, I’m in trouble.
And tracks like ‘The Wee Small Hours’ have real swing and some lovely emotion.
Come On, Does He Do That Song?
He does. But he doesn’t do it standard. That most Sinatra of Sinatra songs, ‘My Way’, is done by Tremonti with an acoustic guitar and piano, the only time it feels as if he didn’t keep his nerve.
It does. It has that expensive, extensive production feel of all of the instruments there at the same time but fitting beautifully and unlike Robbie Williams’ ‘Swing When You’re Winning’, which also succeeds on its terms, there’s never a feeling that Tremonti is winking at us.
This has love and life at its heart, it’s for his Take A Chance For Charity project and as All About The Rock remind us;
‘This isn’t about Tremonti, this is about a good cause, and about improving the lives of thousands of beautiful children, born around the world every year, with down syndrome.’
Great music, excellently done which doesn’t just stop there. How can you go wrong?