Cowgirl in the Sand
"A soulful and creative tribute to Neil Young
--first ever by a single female artist!--
featuring faithful covers as well as surprising new takes on old favorites."
An Editors' pick at CD Baby, “Cowgirl in the Sand” is my interpretation of eleven tunes written by one of my favorite songwriters—Neil Young. I’d been thinking for some time about how the great “standards” singers used to record songbook albums—collections of songs by one writer—and I decided to do the same thing with Neil’s tunes. The greatest difference, of course, is that the standards are meant to be interpreted by many singers. A singer-songwriter’s material, however, is deeply personal and idiosyncratic, meant to be sung by the writer himself or herself. So it was a challenge for me to re-invent Neil’s songs in a way that honored the original versions while still allowing for my own creativity.
After a year spent working on this collection, I can testify that while Neil’s music can appear deceptively simple, many of his songs present fascinating musical challenges. “Old Man,” for instance, only worked for me once I completely changed the style. After I turned “Comes a Time” into an extremely mellow jazz swing ballad, I realized that Neil was as much a writer of “standards” as Cole Porter or George Gershwin—two geniuses to whom he has probably never been compared!
Why did I choose Neil instead of one of my other faves? Well, one of my best friends—a woman with a heart of gold—is a lifelong hardcore Neil fan. Every year on his birthday, this five-foot-tall Chinese-Mexican-American woman dresses up as Neil, complete with Styrofoam guitar and sideburns, and throws a bash for her friends. (Must be seen to be believed.) More important is that I came into my musical “being” while learning to play Neil tunes in college and performing them at coffee houses. So I have a nostalgic, as well as an artistic, connection.
I hope you enjoy this collection.