This CD presents the brief but remarkable output of songs by Duparc during his artistic period that was cut short by a nervous affliction. These works are beautifully performed by mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker and baritone Thomas Allen, with sensitive piano accompaniment by Roger Vignoles. The collection opens with Duparc's best known melody, L'invitation au voyage, which is a setting of a text from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal. The lovely rolling impressionist piano harmonies are played with exquisite fluidity, as they underscore Walker's velvety and intimate vocals. The Sérénade florentine is an impressionist lullaby to a loved one, delivered with touching emotion by Thomas Allen. Extase, Elégie and Testament show the influence of Wagner, and the Chanson triste is one of Duparc's early, Gounod-style songs. Au pays oú se fait la guerre (1869) is also an early work, but is particularly entrancing with simple modal harmonies and easily perceived song construction. By sensitive use of passing tones in the piano, the harmonies are subtly redefined and the music is extended dramatically toward the end by expressive on-rushes.
Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist Kara Grainger teams up with acclaimed producer and engineer David Z (Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Ana Popovic) for a soulful slice of Americana on her Eclecto Groove Records debut. Grainger's trademark fiery slide guitar and smooth sultry vocals fondly invites comparisons to American icon Bonnie Raitt on a selection of evocatively handcrafted originals, along with a few choice covers including Robert Johnson's classic C'mon in My Kitchen. Featured musicians include guitarists Josh Sklair and Kirk Fletcher, keyboardist Mike Finnigan, bassist Hutch Hutchinson, as well as drummers James Gadson and Jimi Bott.