This is the Vanguard debut of Diane Schuur, and I feel that this shift in record labels is precisely what ey needed. While 2008’s “Some Other Time” (Concord) was typical Schuur, “Gathering” is the next evolutionary step forward. This renewed take on life is easily heard during “Gathering”, which will undoubtedly impress in regards to the intricate arrangements and tremendous vocal delivery that are commonplace here.
The array of tracks that are covered during “Gathering” showcase an eclectic love of music from disparate genres; on this album, Schuur imbues Willie Nelson’s “Healing Hands of Time”, Tammy Wynette’s “’Til I Can Make It On My Own”, and Merle Haggard’s “Today I Started Loving You Again” with eir own spirit. For me, I feel that Schuur is able to take something in Nelson’ s “Healing Hands” that is definitively eir own and make it into a Schuur original with little more than eir vocals.
“Gathering” is a title that does not lose a single step from beginning to end. While early tracks like “Why Can’t He Be You” are great, late-album tracks like “When Two Worlds Collide” or “Nobody Wins” are examples of the drive and dedication that Schuur inserts to every track here. “Today I Started Loving You Again” represents for me the album’s high point. The track speaks not only to Schuur’s work in creating eir own music out of a Haggard original, but to eir ability to make the disc’s 10 tracks speak. By inserting a coherent narrative to the tracks on “Gathering”, the album is made that much more compelling. Here’s to hoping that Schuur has a long and storied career on Vanguard records.
Top Tracks: Why Can’t He Be You, Today I Started Loving You Again
Diane Schuur – Gathering (CD) / 2011 Vanguard Records / 10 Tracks / http://www.dianeschuur.com / http://www.vanguardrecords.com