Mandy Barnett is releasing her first new album in five years, and the new project, Strange Conversation, is a little out of the box for the torch singer with the chameleon-like chops. Produced by Marco Giovino and Doug Lancio for Thirty Tigers and Barnett’s own label Dame Productions and due out September 21, Strange Conversation positions the vocalist somewhere between obscure vintage pop and modern progressive songwriting.
“We went to Muscle Shoals to make the record,” Barnett says. “Which was a big thing, because that environment, all the music that happened there, just seeps in. I was working with all new players, and we were going deeper into some things I’ve always touched on, but never really explored.”
Among the tracks on the new album are her take on Neil Sedaka’s “My World Keeps Slipping Away,” which was pitched directly to her by the songwriting legend himself, a McCrary Sisters-embellished version of Andre Williams’ “Put a Chain On It,” which offers a soul-gospel turn, and a carny Western take duet on Sonny & Cher’s “A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done,” which features John Hiatt.
Barnett finds herself reaching new ground vocally on the new collection, which is saying something for the artist who’s been recording since she was a teen. “I’ve come to a place were I didn’t want to be as polished and as lush as before. I’ve always felt like a rebel, because I never did all the flavor-of-the-month stuff, but you can get stuck in that, too. This time, I discovered facets about me I didn’t know. I heard shadings, nuances to bring out. I can still belt, but you know, you don’t have to hit a high C every time.”
Strange Conversation Track Listing:
“It’s All Right (You’re Just in Love)”
“Dream Too Real to Hold”
“A Cowboy’s Work Is Never Done” (featuring John Hiatt)
“Puttin’ on the Dog”
“My World Keeps Slipping Away”
“Put a Chain on It”
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