The trippy, cinematic journey that is William Galison and Madeleine Peyroux's new album, Got You On My Mind , opens with the bright, swinging glee of "Back In Your Own Backyard." It sways through the happily plaintive "J'ai Deux Amours," swaggers through a Charlie Chaplin-in-Technicolor "Rag For Madi," and continues on this diversely scenic escapade for eleven deeply touching tracks. Meanwhile, hallucinations of a passionate Josephine Baker sauntering past Montmartre cafés, a dust-kickin' John Lennon strolling through a corn field and lovers everywhere, aching with tumult, dancing with blissful indulgence flash through the mind.
Peyroux's husky, full-throated voice brings to mind one iconic, white gardenia-wearing lady. The way her inflection lilts up and quivers for a few suspended moments, like in "Heaven To Me" when she breaks the word "heaven" in two, make you think Billie Holiday must be standing behind her breathing through Peyroux's brown locks. Other times, she sings with a lovely, tarnished allure, cut with a hint of tartness like a Granny Smith apple, like on the samba-infused "The Way You Look Tonight."
In July, Peyroux sang and played guitar at the Blue Note with her band (keyboardist Adam Holzman, bassist Andy McKee, drumer Ben Perowski). Her ageless presence oscillated between youthful, adolescent exuberance, to the bittersweet melancholy of a woman who has known a broken heart quite intimately. She connected with her audience, locking eyes until you began to wonder if you were the one in the song who gave her those flowers.
Seven tracks on the album feature Galison's harmonica. At times mournful, at times wild, he always displays superb control over the tiny instrument, whether weaving through Peyroux's vocals in "Heaven To Me," rambling out a boogie-down solo in "J'ai Deux Amours," mingling with Brad Terry's clarinet in "Rag For Madi," or mixing with Shawn Pelton's drums, Tony Garnier's bass and Brian Mitchell's piano to create the fully heart wrenching universe of "Jealous Guy."
Galison also sings and plays guitar on the disc. He turns out a fierce electric solo on "Playin'" and chugs along on acoustic guitar or dobro during the standards. "Shoulda Known" shows up like a weird dream. He sings the tale of the frog and the scorpion in a gentle folk voice. Carly Simon even pays a visit.
There may be an odd combination of tone and atmosphere on Peyroux's long-awaited followup to her 1996 Dreamland , but who doesn't want to leap into the French carnival panache of Heinz Jeromim's accordion on "Flambee Montalbanese," then call out to providence in a desperate plea to save mankind as Galison and Peyroux duet along to Jean Baptoste Bocle's Hammond B3 in "Heaven Help Us All"?
Track Listing: 1. Back in your Own Back Yard;
2. J'ais Deux Amours;
3. Flambee Montalbenese;
4. Got You on My Mind;
5. Jealous Guy;
6. The Way You Look Tonight;
7. Rag for Madi;
9. Shoulda Known;
Personnel: Tracks with Peyroux and Galison: Madeleine Peyroux: vocals and rhythm guitar; William Galison:
harmonica, acoustic and electric guitars, dobro, vocals; James Wormworth: drums; Conrad Korsch:
acoustic and electric bass; Jean Baptiste Bocle: B3 organ. Tracks with Galison: William Galison: guitars,
harmonica, vocals; Shawn Pelton: drums, percussion; Tony Garnier: acoustic and electric bass; Brian
Mitchell: piano, organ.