Cassandra Wilson never fails to surprise and inspire. Sexy, honey-velvet vocals wrapped around her own jazzy blue compositions or inventive interpretations of others' material led Time magazine to name her "America's Best Singer" in recent years. On her new CD thunderbird, which Blue Note Records will release on April 4, 2006, she has collaborated with red hot producer T Bone Burnett to surprise, yet again.
The legend of the thunderbird is an ancient myth that survives today in some Native American cultures. In the eyes of the ancients, it was a divine and magical animal sent by the gods to protect them from the powers of evil. The thunderbird brought calm and growth to the region. For Cassandra, the spiritual and magical aspects to this creature perfectly described the environment from which these 10 songs grew.
Deftly combining her own compositions—the irresistible "Go To Mexico," the sultry "It Would Be So Easy," the lovely "Poet" and the spiritual and celebratory "Tarot"—with carefully chosen songs that spoke to her like "Closer To You" by Jakob Dylan, "Easy Rider" by Blind Lemon Jefferson, the traditional song "Red River Valley" and Willie Dixon's "I Want To Be Loved," Wilson has woven her plaintive, delicious voice in and out of these tales of betrayal, intimacy and wonder. T Bone contributed two songs to the album in "Lost" and "Strike a Match."
Ultimately, T Bone was the glue that kept it all together and it was his "secret ingredients," as Cassandra describes them, that added that aural special something you just couldn't put your finger on. So what were T Bone's "special ingredients?" "I can't talk about those," she says. "Otherwise, he'd have to kill me."
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