Having previously covered the likes of Ron Sexsmith, Dan Zanes, and Annie Lennox, Curtis Stigers has never been one to rely solely on the Great American Songbook classics, but Let's Go Out Tonight, his tenth studio album, and seventh since his effortless jazz-man reinvention, arguably features the most eclectic selection of material in his career. Not that it's entirely apparent on first listen. Its ten tracks may take in everything from wistful alt-country (Hayes Carll's "Chances Are"), vintage Stax soul (Eddie Floyd's "Oh, How It Rained"), and even atmospheric dream pop (the Blue Nile's title track), but their similar organic production and achingly slow tempos mean it takes some time for their charms to sink in. A country-tinged rendition of Dinah Washington's "This Bitter Earth" provides the highlight, Stigers eschewing his bluesy growl for an impassioned soulful delivery which recalls his early-'90s commercial heyday, while the bittersweet jazz-blues of "Everyone Loves Lovers" (the only original composition), the gentle waltz of Richard Thompson's heart-breaking "Waltzing's for Dreamers," and the suitably mournful take on Steve Earle's harrowing "Goodbye" prove that this is by far his most melancholic offering to date. A few less sedate numbers wouldn't have gone amiss, with only the organic folk shuffle of Bob Dylan's Oscar-winning "Things Have Changed" managing to crawl beyond a snail's pace. But while there are moments of monotony, Let's Go Out Tonight is still a well-crafted, if undeniably slow-burning affair, which impressively shies away from the usual familiar standards.
Let's Go Out Tonight Review
by Jon O'Brien