Friday, January 20, 2017

Cowboy Classics Sampler (2016), by Patrick Stewart

CD Fan Review

For a Royal Shakespearean actor from England who has trekked to the stars, fought magnetic mutants, and talked bluntly, Patrick Stewart makes quite the convincing country crooner.

Unlike his equally musically inclined intergalactic predecessor, Stewart actually sings these cowboy classics (with the exception of “Ringo,” and to great effect). And he does a pretty fine job of it.

It certainly helps that Stewart is backed by a top-notch band of musicians, including Ethan Eubanks (drums/percussion/vocals), Andrew Sherman (piano/accordion/vocals), Jim Campilongo (guitars), Jon Graboff (pedal steel/guitars/vocals), and Jeff Hill (bass).

But Stewart really goes for it and gets into the character of these Western ditties, giving it his all as he belts out his unique brand of British country twang in pitches I wasn’t previously aware that he was capable of. In fact, if I didn’t know beforehand that this was Patrick Stewart, I wouldn’t have recognized his voice for the most part (he does sound somewhat like himself on his gleefully giddy interpretation of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”)

If you like country (and Christmas) music and Patrick Stewart, you’re in for a real treat. What could have easily been an exercise in pure hokeyness (not altogether a bad thing in itself) manages to be both kitschy and classy thanks to Stewart’s talents and penchant for having a grand old time.

I do reckon there’s a future for Patrick Stewart in them there musical hills.

--Raj Manoharan

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