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Cyndi Lauper 'detours' into country music

web - DetoursCyndi Lauper’s chameleon nature reshapes the pop and Broadway artist once again with the release of Detour. Lauper’s first foray into the Nashville sound may leave listeners wondering what took her so long to make such an obvious connection.

Lauper wisely leans heavily on what is shaping up to be the Great American Country Songbook for source material, and there is nary a miss among the album’s 12 tracks. The title track may refer to changes in Lauper’s direction, but it also references the famous western swing tune “Detour (There’s a Muddy Road Ahead)” that dates back to 1945 and boasts versions by Patti Page, Bill Haley & The Comets, Ella Fitzgerald and others. The singer’s take falls right in line with that of her predecessors.

Lauper calls on the talents of Willie Nelson, Vince Gill and Emmylou Harris to help her build her country cachet, but in the end she doesn’t need it. The singer shines brightest on solo versions of the Patsy Cline classics “Walkin’ After Midnight” and “I Fall to Pieces.” Coupled with Dan Dugmore’s shimmering pedal steel, the deliveries are exquisite.

But the heart of the album beats mostly clearly in Carol Hall’s “Hard Candy Christmas,” originally written for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Songbird Alison Kraus adds interesting context to the Sondheim-style vocals, creating a heartfelt country/Broadway blend to helps kickstart what may be Lauper’s next career move. Once again, she has made a good choice.

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