You always get a great sense of an artist based off their inspiration and personal music taste. This is no exception for Irene Hartfield who released a compilation of her favorite songs entitled Play Me. It includes 10 covers that Hartfield loves accompanied by Robin Anders on drums. She personally sung, played, arranged and recorded the album in Robin’s studio in Northern Minnesota. Previously she had been known in and around New York for her singing and keyboarding skills. Irene frequents clubs and recording studios to lend her talent.
There is a great mixture of soul, jazz and blues accompanied with a very 70s feel on Play Me. It is definitely a throwback to another, simpler time of love songs and whimsical musicianship. I can imagine sitting in a lounge or coffee shop while Irene sits on a stool at a piano showcasing her love for songs by Joni Mitchell, Neil Diamond, and Paul Simon to name a few.
I’d have to say my favorite cover of hers is Embraceable You by George and Ira Gershwin. There is so much passion and presence in her voice and arrangement, it makes it memorable. Unfortunately I cannot say that about every track on the album. The quality in recording was somewhat lacking and I do not think it always accurately portrayed Irene’s talent and beautiful voice. I would be very interested to hear how Irene sounds with top quality recording equipment.
If you would like to learn more about Irene Hartfield and purchase Play Me or her previous works The Blue Period, you can visit her website
Despite the poor quality, I admire the effort and the collection of songs. They were songs I had never heard of before and after listening to her album I was inspired to further listen to those artists and their songs. It opened my eyes to a different genre of music and I appreciate that about Irene's compilation. At the end of the day, we want to listen to artists who inspire us, entertain us and push us to explore new music. Irene did that successfully.