Adieu False Heart

Linda Ronstadt/Ann Savoy

Vanguard, 2006

REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck


It must be incredibly empowering to reach a point as an artist when commercial sales mean absolutely nothing. The lucky ones reach that point early, like Pearl Jam, and can begin exploring other musical avenues, which Linda Ronstadt has done here.

The only meaning Ronstadt previously had to me was the answer  to the following question: “Who sang a duet with Barney Gumble defaming Homer’s Mr. Plow business?” But while reading about the California rock scene of the ‘60s and ‘70s, I became interested in her music.

In 2006, Ronstadt is past her commercial peak but doesn’t care. This means Adieu False Heart is not a perfect record, not even a great one, but a good, solid recording by a veteran who has enough chops to beat out most modern stars. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Without question, Ronstadt’s vocals are the highlight of this album. Her exquisite pipes are in full display here and hold the material together. Ronstadt rarely belts out notes that cross the musical spectrum like Christina Aguilera, but not one note she sings is wasted, and it’s thankful that Ronstadt spares us the torture of vocal gymnastics.

That being said, the true surprise comes from the unique style of Adieu False Heart. Ronstadt’s collaborator Ann Savoy is a member of the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band, which is not a surprising pairing given Ronstadt’s collaboration with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris and her other experiments. The nice thing is that, like Springsteen’s We Shall Overcome, the disc looks to the past for inspiration.

The title track flashes this old-fashioned romanticism, which one cannot help but get caught up with. In fact, the entire disc has genuine soul, which is missing from much of today’s music, as are the accordion, banjo and violin present here, instruments that evoke images of a different culture, a different world.

The music thuds in some places, but the highlights stand out from their brethren because they are that much better. “The King Of Bohmeia” and “Rattle My Cage” are just as effective as the title track, while hearing Ronstadt sing in French on “Parlez-Moi D’amour” is breathtaking. Few other female vocalists could tackle this song and succeed.

Yet while the first half of the album was quite enjoyable, the second half starts to wear thin because the general sound is no longer fresh and unique, like Joshua Radin’s We Were Here. Again, it’s not bad music – “Walk Away Renee” in particular is solid – but the second half just drags down the exciting first half.

Were it not for this dichotomy, I could rank this as an album of the year, since parts of it are that good. Those looking for something new this fall should forget these flash in the pan artists – The Killers, I’m looking at you – and go with one of the truly talented in the music business on a CD that never sounds forced and remains honest, confident and fun.


Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Jeff Clutterbuck and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Vanguard, and is used for informational purposes only.