Madeleine Peyroux

Posted in MusicWorld on August 2, 2005 by

It's been eight years between Madeleine Peyroux's first and second albums, but the time hasn't slowed her momentum. She was hailed by Time magazine on her first 1996 release, Dreamland , for creating "the most exciting, involving vocal performance by a new singer this year." Since Careless Love was released in 2004, it has gone on to sell more than a half-million copies worldwide, proving that the excitement she created is lasting, indeed.

Georgia-born Peyroux was raised in Paris and New York, and honed her performing talents playing on the streets of Paris before recording Dreamland . The album showcased a style that reaches back to the torch songs of Billie Holliday and Bessie Smith and then invests them with contemporary currency. She soon landed on the line-up of Lilith Fair as well as a slew of jazz festivals, and opened shows for artists like Sarah McLachlan.

"I could've kept running with it," Peyroux says, "but instead I stepped back and took a breather." She continued to perform in clubs and on the street, further honing her style.

Her artistic maturity shines on Careless Love , a set that mixes smoky blues ballads and French cabaret. It features songs both old (blues founding father W.C. Handy's title number and Hank Williams's "Weary Blues") and newer (Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love" and Elliot Smith's "Behind the Bars"), as well as her songwriting collaboration with her producer Larry Klein and Grammy-winning songwriter Jesse Harris, "Don't Wait Too Long," which was featured in the movie Monster-In-Law .

Tracks from the album have also been featured on NBC's "Crossing Jordan," HBO's "Family Bonds" and Showtime's "Queer As Folk." As with her last release, Peyroux has won high critical praise with Careless Love , which has already spent some six months in the Top 3 of the Billboard Traditional Jazz charts.

Melding the venerable torch-song style with acoustic blues, country ballads, folk and touches of pop, Peyroux enjoys making music that transcends trends and eras, noting that "I feel lucky to be part of a tradition of songwriting that stands the test of time."