Twenty years after her recording debut, Dreamland, Madeleine Peyroux continues her musical journey of exploring beyond the ordinary with Secular Hymns, a spirited and soulful masterwork of loping, skipping, sassy, feisty, and sexy tunes delivered in a captivating mélange of funk, blues, and jazz.
With her trio that had been touring together for two years—electric guitarist Jon Herington and upright bassist Barak Mori—Peyroux set out to record in a live setting a collection of songs with their own hymn-like stories of self-awareness and inner dialogue, a communal consciousness, and a spiritual essence.
“Music has been our spiritual life,” she says. “So I think of these as hymns, secular hymns—songs that are very individual, personal, introverted.”
While noting that she veers away from being “the normal jazz trio,” Peyroux nonetheless brings her jazz sensibility into roots music territory in such a moving way that she captures the celebration and praise implied in the songs—a special ten-song collection of bona fide Secular Hymns.
It’s rare to find someone capable of injecting such life into every single lyric and each emotion and sentiment was conveyed with such personality and conviction through her musical choices, inflection and perhaps simply natural ability to really tell a story through song.
—London Jazz News
If Peyroux is guilty of undersigning on occasion, this very tendency is awfully refreshing in an era where mindless, high-volume vocal trillings so often masquerade as interpretation.