Six years have passed since Cyndi Lauper’s last album Memphis Blues. Proving herself to be quite the musical chameleon, Lauper moved away from her pop/rock sound to record a blues album and it was received very well by critics and fans. Over the course of her long and successful career, Lauper has explored a variety of styles of music ranging from the standards to modern dance. In 2013 Lauper released the soundtrack to Kinky Boots, the musical adaptation of the hit film of the same name. For her most recent album, Lauper has changed genre again this time exploring Country music for Detour.
Detour is a collection of Country covers featuring a host of special guests including Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson and Jewel. The album opens with a cover of Wanda Jackson’s Funnel of Love, which also serves as Detour’s lead single. Anyone worried that Lauper would be adopting a faux Country accent need not worry as her distinctive vocals are intact throughout the album. She has the type of voice that is incredibly unique but impressively adaptable to pretty much any genre of music (I may draw the line though if she decides a hip-hop album is in her future).
I highly doubt that Detour is the start of Lauper’s attempt to go fully Country but for a standalone album exploring a genre she loves, Detour is a superb listen. The title track, originally recorded by Jimmy Walker with Paul Westmoreland and his Pescos River Boys, features Emmylou Harris and mixes swing into the Country melody. Lauper’s voice is strong on the strong with her vibrato being used to great effect.
Lauper’s song selections for the album are well considered ones. If you don’t class yourself as a Country music fan, you’ll still recognise at least a handful of the tracks included here. The End of the World, originally recorded by Skeeter Davis, was covered by Vonda Shepard for the hit series Ally McBeal in the 90s and Lauper puts her own spin on it here. It’s one of the highlights on the record and perhaps the closest to Lauper’s own musical style. The bouncy Walkin’ After Midnight, one of two Patsy Cline covers, is another cut that many will recognise as it’s been used in countless films and TV shows.
Elsewhere on the album Jewel is enlisted for a spot of yodelling on I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart which was originally recorded by Patsy Montana, Vince Gill appears on the Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty cover You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, and Willie Nelson re-records his hit Night Life with Laupr bringing Country blues into the mix.
The highlight on the album is Lauper’s emotive rendition of Eddy Arnold’s Misty Blue. Her vocals are seriously strong and she injects passion into every lyric. Lauper is at her best when she uses the full power of her voice and Misty Blue is pretty stunning.
Detour is an interesting release from Lauper and one where she acquits herself very well. I’m beginning to think there’s no genre she can’t tackle and her take on Country is one that I’ll be spinning a lot in months to come. To be honest anything Lauper does is worthy of attention and even if you don’t think you like Country music, I recommend you check this album out and get ready to change your opinion.
Track Listing: 1. Funnel of Love 2. Detour feat Emmylou Harris 3. Misty Blue 4. Walkin’ After Midnight 5. Heartaches By the Number 6. The End of the World 7. Night Life feat Willie Nelson 8. Begging To You 9. You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly feat Vince Gill 10. I Fall to Pieces 11. I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart feat Jewel 12. Hard Candy Christmas feat Alison Krauss) Record Company: Rhino Release Date: 6th May 2016