Considering the spotty nature of many tributes, Remembering Patsy Cline -- which duplicates her 12 Greatest Hits collection, although in a different running order -- is remarkably consistent. Subtle and classy like its subject, these dozen tracks -- all by female artists -- generally bring out the jazzier, torchier side of Cline's material. So it's not surprising that jazz-pop singers such as Natalie Cole ("I Fall to Pieces"), Norah Jones ("Why Can't He Be You"), and Diana Krall ("Crazy") successfully take their songs in that direction. Generally, these versions are respectful to the originals. But when they go too far astray such as on Martina McBride's a cappella "Sweet Dreams" with Take 6's schlocky, unnecessary background vocals or Rebecca Lynn Howard's overly lavish production of "You're Stronger Than Me," the album doesn't fare as well. The low-key approach of Patty Griffin ("Faded Love") and especially Jones, who both find Cline's nimble balance between country, pop, and blues, works best. The lush, piano-accompanied "Leavin' on Your Mind" from k.d. lang is languid and lovely, if a bit stilted. But tougher bluesy versions of "She's Got You" from Lee Ann Womack and Terri Clark's "Walkin After Midnight" nail these songs, resulting in a few of this album's gutsiest performances. Youngster Michelle Branch injects a slight country catch in her voice on a slick but tight version of "Strange." More upbeat interpretations of Cline's songs would help pick up the pace on the album's final half, which tends to drag. Still, even with its faults, this is a worthy project that Cline admirers, and certainly fans of the artists here, will find a worthwhile addition to their libraries.
Review by Hal Horowitz