If Carol King was still writing songs, they might sound like these by Coral Egan

The Year He Drove Me Crazy is Coral Egan’s return to recording after a four year hiatus. And a fine return it is. This album is an evolution from her earlier recordings for the legendary jazz label Justin Time; and it may prove to be a hit album for the company; which also produces Trevor Payne’s Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Olive Jones, and Ranee Lee. Coral Egan’s previous recordings have been nominated for a Juno Award (The Path of Least Resistance) and My Favourite Distraction won a Felix.

I listened to The Year He Drove Me Crazy several times before meeting Coral to discuss the album, how it came together and her upcoming November 2 concert at Sala Rosa. Her songs are melodic and well constructed with catchy choruses that you find yourself singing along with. Coral’s jazz influences bring a sophistication and urbane quality her music. It’s easy to imagine Coral Egan and her band performing in one of New York City’s show rooms.

Her sensuous lyrics are poetic; and yet she can turn a phrase and accompanying melody with the best popular song writers. “…365 highs, 12 lows and 52 reasons to hold on or let go. Yeah that was the year he drove me crazy…” From the album’s title song. Or this from the languidly sexual Soul Sunday; “We all wonder why we don’t do this every day.”

“I wanted to step out from behind the piano and rely on these talented musicians to help me take these songs further that I might have done by myself. I worked them up using a Garage Band program on my computer. They were taking shape when I fell head over heels in love with Vahé, and our relationship has fuelled the passion that we captured with these songs.”

“Albert Chambers collaborated with me on the lyrics and some of the music. He has a wonderful sense of pop music and soul that was a positive influence on this recording. I decided to work with indie musicians for their different approach. We have Patrick Watson drummer Robbie Kuster and bassist Mishka Stein; pianist Jon Dey, beatboxer Jason Levine and Plants and Animals guitarist Warren Spicer. Robbie was especially helpful in developing the soulful sound of this recording. He went to Jim (founder and owner of Justin Time) and insisted that he allocate more studio time so that we could give these songs the time they deserved.”

This is a fine compilation of songs that maintain a relaxed feel throughout the nine original songs and Coral’s excellent interpretation and arrangement of Neil Young’s Razor Love, with some very smooth guitar work. It’s a pleasure to listen to, and you catch something new and fresh with each playing.

Coral Egan will be showcasing The Year he Drove Me Crazy at the Sala Rosa on November 2. To listen: http://soundcloud.com Enjoy!

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