Justin Time Records
There are no flies on Carol Welsman. The seemingly indefatigable Canadian chanteuse and keyboardist tours constantly, touching down annually on three or four continents, is booked well into 2008 with concerts and club dates, served up a tasty platter of country covers (What’cha Got Cookin’) just over a year ago and is already back with another studio album, the eighth of her career and first for the Montreal-based Justin Time label.
With this latest, eponymous effort, Welsman pushes her musical boundaries further than ever, with a multilingual, largely acoustic Latin affair that opens with a cool, slinky treatment of Oscar Castro Neves’ “Brazasia.” She maintains the mood with the self-penned “Hold Me,” then turns up the heat with a satiny “Dans Cette Chambre,” a French translation of countryman Gordon Lightfoot’s “Beautiful” (a counterpoint version, sung in English, fills the album’s penultimate track). Welsman also reveals an admirable ability to sing in Portuguese with a shimmering rendition of Gilberto Gil’s “Eu Vim de Bahia,” shifts to Spanish for a twilight-shaded “Nosotros,” doubles back to French for a billowy “Dans Mon Ile,” and reminds us of her long-established skills as a standard-bearer with a free-spirited “Too Close for Comfort.”
In the center of all this border crossing, Welsman immerses two contemporary pop hits in warm Latin baths. It works, in a hazy, MOR sorta way, for the Doobie Brothers’ “What a Fool Believes;” but a gauzy, slumbering reading of Madonna’s “Live to Tell” is like a lead anchor dragging down the album’s middle.