Album release: Hard Rain by Barb Jungr
Release date: 24 March 2014
Label: Kristalyn Records / Absolute / Universal
Listen: on official website
“In 2002, the British singer Barb Jungr released Barb Jungr Sings Bob Dylan: Every Grain of Sand, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the most significant vocal album of the 21st century thus far.” - The Wall Street Journal
“The only word to describe her dramatic interpretations is revelatory…..I was open mouthed with astonishment.” - New York Times
The UK’s finest interpreter of song, Barb Jungr returns to the songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen with the release of Hard Rain. Oft referred to as “the politicised chansonnier” and cited as one of the world’s best performers of Dylan’s material, Barb turns to six of his most politically hard-hitting songs along with five of Leonard Cohen’s most impassioned songs of conscience. Barb’s selection for Hard Rain reflects her despair with the political times that we live in and she has deliberately chosen songs that resonate as strongly today as they did when they were originally written: Blowin’ In The Wind is now 51 years old and its sentiments are as relevant today as they ever were.
Barb Jungr says: “The space in between has always been my default position. Between song and singer, lyric and music, arrangement and performance. So I am amazed to be so clear about this collection. I knew right from the start it was all the tougher songs of Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen that I wanted to sing. I knew there was somehow a through thread to them - that the world they described and the actions they rejected and celebrated were of as much importance today as the day those songs were penned. There’s something in both writers that transcends the material itself, as though the words and music have powers beyond the paper and the groove, beyond the voice and the piano. So I’m entering a new decade with singing a clutch of special songs that have moved and shaken, caressed and struck me. I hope you’ll love the glorious music of both of these writers as much as I do....if that’s possible.... and let’s watch the dawn of the new day together.”
1. Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
2. Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
3. Who By Fire (Leonard Cohen)
4. Hard Rain (Bob Dylan)
5. First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen)
6. Masters Of War (Bob Dylan)
7. It’s Alright Ma (Bob Dylan) 8. 1000 Kisses Deep (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
9. Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan)
10. Land Of Plenty (Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson)
11. Chimes Of Freedom (Bob Dylan)
The album comes complete with insightful liner notes by writer Liz Thomson, who as Elizabeth Thomson prepared “the director’s cut” of No Direction Home: The Life and Music of Bob Dylan (2014). She was also the co-editor of The Dylan Companion. As a young journalist, her first ever interview was with Leonard Cohen.
All of the arrangements on the album are by Barb and her long-standing collaborator and accompanist, the pianist Simon Wallace, who also produced the album. In addition to Simon (piano, Hammond organ and synthesizers), Barb is also joined by Neville Malcom on bass (with Steve Watts providing bass on tracks 1,3,8 and 10); Gary Hammond (percussion); Clive Bell (Shakahachi) and Richard Olatunde Baker on talking drum and additional percussion. Together with Barb, they inject new life and energy into each song.
Hard Rain will be released on Kristalyn Records on 24th March 2014. The album will be supported by an extensive run of live dates and will be launched with a special premiere performance of this Dylan/Cohen collection at London’s Purcell Room on Friday 14th February before going on tour throughout the UK.
Barb has recently completed another triumphant run of shows in the U.S.A. Over the past few years the British chanteuse has been wowing critics and audiences alike at home and abroad with her insightful, intelligent interpretations of well-loved songs combined with her powerful and often witty performance style. Barb Jungr is a British performer that we should truly cherish.
“One of the best interpreters of Jacques Brel and Bob Dylan anywhere on this angst ridden planet today” - Village Voice, New York
“…a fantastic English singer … I was just amazed by her voice….” - Jeremy Irons – Desert Island Discs
“Possibly our best interpreter of Dylan’s songs” - Billy Bragg
“Bob Dylan, jazz, northern soul, Nina Simone and continental Europe’s cabaret music perform a subtle dance in Jungr’s consciousness” - The Guardian