BWW Reviews: Robyn Spangler Honors Linda Ronstadt on New CD
Robyn Spangler/Why I Love Linda Ronstadt/The Greatest Hits
What has made Linda Ronstadt so popular? She has a lovely voice, indeed, but so do many other vocalists whose voices never emanate past the rafters of a church choir. Ronstadt has always defied description. She's a true rebel. Just when you thought you could put a label on what she sang - pop, country, jazz, out of the blue she'd come up with another big surprise, like lifting her voice several octaves to perfrom Gilbert and Sullivan and The Pirates of Penzance. Then it dropped down again in elegant style as she decided to pay homage to all those lovely Nelson Riddle tunes from the big band era. And she was good, no the best, with every type of music she sang. Well, Robyn Spangler radiates such warmth and finesse as a singer ...and she has the whole Linda Ronstadt collection down pat. And it's not an imitation; she has a singularly and distinctively pretty voice. She also knows how to sing with an easy going style that makes for good listening, and most importantly pays attention to every lyric. She sings from the heart. So what we get in Why I Love Linda Ronstadt is Ronstadt's unforgettably beautiful music sung with a brand new spin by the gifted Robyn Spangler.
Highlights of the album include the gorgeously haunting "Hurt So Bad", the jazzy "Hummin' to Myself", a beautiful duet with Lee Lessack "All My Life", a scrumptious medley of Nelson Riddle hits: "What's New?", Billy Strayhorn's delicious "Lush Life" and "Sentimental Reasons", all rolled into one. Here especially one can feel how Spangler allows the lyrics to work their magic on her. She never pushes for an instant. What comes across is the natural, melodic sound that conveys the songs' romantic mood. It worked well for Ronstadt and undeniably so for Spangler as well. There's a delightful contrast displayed between "Te Quiero Dijiste" sung in a slow, sweet manner with lilting flute accompaniment by Robert Kyle and "You're No Good" with its fast and sassy rhythms. "Desperado"'s point blank message is sung with an adversely gentle sound that really makes it hit the mark even stronger. Todd Schroeder's expert musicianship is heard on piano throughout and he adds nice vocal chemistry dueting with Spangler on "Hasten Down the Wind". Tom Walsh is featured on drums and Tim Christensen on bass.
This is a truly stunning tribute to Linda Ronstadt. We will always remember her music in all its variety and Robyn Spangler's stellar artistry for interpreting it so lovingly.