Release Date: May 13, 2011
Record label: Nonesuch
Genre(s): Singer/Songwriter, Pop/Rock, Contemporary Pop/Rock
Nearly eight years after releasing The Randy Newman Songbook, Vol. 1, in which one of America's finest and most distinctive songwriters revisited a handful of songs from his back catalog in elegant, austere new recordings, Newman has delivered the implied follow-up, in which he revisits 16 more tunes with just his own piano work accompanying his vocals. Unlike many veteran artists past official retirement age, Newman's skills as a performer haven't suffered a bit with the passage of time, and these new recordings sound fresh and immediate; while Newman has never had a traditionally "good" voice, his instrument sounds as strong as ever and he's even better at assuming his cast of often questionable characters than he was on his early LPs, while his piano playing, a remarkable fusion of traditional pop and New Orleans groove, is emotionally and technically dazzling and gives these songs all the form and color they need.