CD Review: Emily Mure “Sad Songs & Waltzes” 

Having been classically-trained as an oboist, New York City’s singer-songwriter Emily Mure would later move to the guitar with which she would find her true calling as a Folk musician. Emily Mure has released three albums of original Contemporary Folk music. But now, the most current release from the singer-songwriter finds her exploring a much different idea. Mure’s newest release, entitled Sad Songs & Waltzes, is a short five-track release where Mure reinvents some of the songs that helped influence her, even if those songs don’t actually fall into the same musical category that she is classified under.  

Sad Songs & Waltzes from Emily Mure begins with the track “Gone for Good”. From the band The Shins, “Gone for Good” once appeared on that band’s Chutes Too Narrow album. With the version from The Shins, the band creates a track with a strong Alt-Country feel to the music. The track as recorded by the band comes complete with a strong twang to the song. When Mure created her version, the music comes with a softer feel as the Folk flavor of Mure’s style shines through. The electric guitar solo from Lyle Brewer helps add a lot of beauty to the lighter version of the track by Mure.

While the first track of Emily Mure’s Sad Songs & Waltzes was originally an Alt-Country song, the next track is a standard of sorts in the Country music genre. The album’s title track of “Sad Songs and Waltzes” is a song written by Willie Nelson from his Shotgun Willie album and covered by artists like Cake, Keith Whitley and Cowboy Junkies. As the original version from Nelson features a slow pace to the music, so too does the version from Emily Mure. With Mure’s version of the song, she strips the track down to a simple “guitar and vocals” arrangement. The simplicity of the track allows the sadness of the lyrics to come through.

When recorded by The Cranberries, the song “When You’re Gone” was an Alternative Rock track that had a generous amount of Doo Wop influence to it, especially in the beginning seconds of the track when it was simple the guitar and the vocals from Dolores O’Riordan. The beginning thirty seconds to the track on Emily Mure’s Sad Songs & Waltzes EP give the listener a hint at the original version by The Cranberries, but then the feeling of the track after that is much different. The track features the vocals from Emily Mure and her guitar for most of the track. Soon enough, the track also features the sound of a cello from Audrey Q. Snyder that helps to fill in a lot of the remaining sound. It’s when the upright bass from Brian Killeen appears that the track becomes complete. The Cranberries version of the song “When You’re Gone” was still a rather slow but had plenty of energy. The new version by Mure contains the same pace to the music while giving the track a much strong Folk feel.

“The Lonely 1” on the Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure is one track where the singer-songwriter/musician gives a cover a stronger musical approach than the original version of a song. When the band Wilco recorded “The Lonely 1,” the band created a track that was a track perfect for slow dancing and the strings in the song added to that feeling. The version from Mure contains a simpler musical approach as the acoustic guitar is the focal point whereas the piano from Elizabeth Ziman is there mainly to be the replacement for the string arrangement from the Wilco version. Together, Emily Mure’s acoustic guitar and Elizabeth Ziman’s piano combine to create a musical direction that comes with a quicker pace to the music while still laid-back and low-key in its delivery. “The Lonely 1” ends up being one of the standout tracks on the Sad Songs & Waltzes release.

During the six tracks that make up the new EP from Emily Mure, the listener encounters songs that have been rearranged to fit the gentler feel of Folk music. With the song “No Surprises,” a song originally done by Radiohead, very little rearranging was done for Mure’s version. Aside from a stripped down feel, the track stays rather loyal to what had been created by the originators of the track. The song by Mure still contains a gentle, almost lullaby-like approach to the track, which goes along with the somber lyrics in the song. The difference is in the aforementioned stripped down approach. The track’s simpler feel truly brings out the sadness in the song.

Emily Mure brings her latest release to a close with the track “Yellow” which was a major hit for the British band Coldplay. Keeping with the feel of the original hit, Mure and her guitar set the track in motion with a nice stripped-down arrangement of the song. Having appeared earlier in the release, pianist Elizabeth Ziman and cellist Audrey Q. Snyder both return to help close out the Sad Songs & Waltzes release. Snyder’s cello adds a string arrangement that really brings back a lot of the spirit of Coldplay’s song. And Ziman’s piano adds depth to the track as the piano appears in the background of the song. Being a basically stripped-down version of what Coldplay had produced, Emily Mure produces a track that brings the release to a close on a soft note.

The Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure is a well-named release as all of the tracks contain songs with rather sad lyrics to them. Together with the Folk-inspired arrangements, the six resulting cover tracks create a solid release that is familiar and intriguing at the same time. And although each track falls into the Folk category because of the arrangements of the songs, the release also belongs within the Rock and Roll music category because of the songs and the artists who created them originally being of the Rock and Roll style.

Here are links to the original songs included in the EP:
Gone for Good” from  The Shins
Sad Songs and Waltzes” from Willie Nelson
When You’re Gone” from The Cranberries
The Lonely 1” from Wilco
No Surprises,” from Radiohead
Yellow” from Coldplay

Check out Emily Mure’s PR firm, Michael J. Media by clicking on the picture below:




For a taste of the Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure, check out her version of “Yellow” by Coldplay.

To check out the entire Sad Songs & Waltzes release from Emily Mure, click on the album cover below: