kd lang - Drag (Warner) You have to say this about kd lang: she keeps trying to come up with new ways of keeping her listeners entertained. Never mind that it does not always turn out as successfully as she would have wished (her previous funk album All You Can Eat is a case in point).
At first glance, Drag may drum up some stereotypical connotations in connection with lang, but the album is actually a smouldering collection of cover versions that feature smoking as the main metaphor.
The album's 12 numbers form a good mix of everything from smoky blues to pop folk and even traces of country with songs such as the Hollies' The Air That I Breathe, Steve Miller's The Joker and Les Paul and Mary Ford's Smoke Rings. But the whole atmosphere is not of smoke-filled jazz bars but of a languid, relaxed night at home.
lang's vocals may not be as husky as some of the other singers - such as Peggy Lee (Don't Smoke In Bed ) and Jane Siberry (My Last Cigarette ) - she has chosen to cover here, but her clear vocals hold her well in the less torchy songs such as The Joker.
The Theme From The Valley of The Dolls is another one of those numbers which lang more than does credit to, but it has to be the twanging banjo in Your Smoke Screen that seals the laidback tone of the album.