McKelle’s delivers a spirited, bluesy rendition of Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene”, a celebration of the lyrics in a decidedly different context than the original 1974 release by Parton which earned her a GRAMMY® for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. “No Ordinary Love” is McKelle’s rendition of Sade’s classic R&B composition. McKelle’s fiery latin-tinged arrangement of this song emphasizes the ensemble’s fantastic sense of dynamics and interplay. McKelle’s voice ignites the track and is met with an impassioned solo from Felder. The album ends with a duo performance of Carole King’s classic “You’ve Got a Friend”. McKelle and Mitchell converse over King’s lyrics, delivering the song’s tenderness with her signature warmth and strength.The songs on Alterations are diverse in tone and mood. The desperation of Del Ray’s “Born to Die”; The exuberance of Parton’s “Jolene”. McKelle transitions seamlessly between the emotions of every song. And makes each one her own. To McKelle, alteration is all. As the artist notes “when you create change, you create space for something to shift in the world and in yourself. As an artist. And as a human. And that is a change for the good.”
More About Robin McKelle:
A savvy songwriter and a powerhouse vocalist, McKelle has long found a home where soul, jazz,pop, gospel, blues and the American Songbook cross paths. In her live performances, she exudes a bandleader’s moxie that recalls the Rat Pack era. While comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald are common because of her warm alto voice, her early influences were mostly Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin. McKelle’s voice mirrors the power of those three vocal titans while maintaining the refined nuances of Fitzgerald. In her early days, McKelle shared the stage with such prestigious artists as Michael McDonald and Bobby McFerrin.
McKelle’s seminal album Introducing Robin McKelle featuring the vocalist performing a list of standards of the jazz repertoire afront a big band, was released in 2006. This release was followed by 2008’s big band release Modern Antique. 2010’s Mess Around featured McKelle with a paired down ensemble and a repertoire running the gamut from jazz to soul to pop.
Soul Flower, Merry Christmas Vol. 1 and Heart of Memphis featured McKelle’s hard-partying ensemble The FlytonesLed by bassist and co-producer Derek Nievergelt. On these releases, McKelle amps the grit to 11, displaying her versatility on a wide array of material. 2016’s The Looking Glass was McKelle’s first album of all original material. McKelle’s Melodic Canvas saw a turning point for the vocalist. “Tackling tough subject matter including politics, faith and more, McKelle’s Melodic Canvas offers listeners a timely social commentary with a rich, soulful sound. Blending elements of blues, jazz, gospel and soul, the album is an inspired work of pure, aural bliss” (Eponymous Review)
There’s an insightful storyteller’s voice that connects her songs, a narrative thread that feels smart and soulful. In her songwriting and in the arrangements/production of the album, she mixes her varied influences together with strength and grace.