Staci Griesbach, “No One Needs To Know” My Shania Twain Songbook
As a teenager growing up in rural Wisconsin, jazz vocalist Staci Griesbach grooved to the music of pop-country queen Shania Twain. She particularly related to the sassy, self-determined songs on Twain’s 1995 recording The Woman in Me. Recognizing that this year was the 25th anniversary of that influential album, Griesbach decided to revisit those songs, working on jazzy arrangements for a release that she dubbed My Shania Twain Songbook. The L.A.-based singer lined up A-list jazz accompaniment for the project — pianists/arrangers Tamir Hendelman and Otmaro Ruiz, saxophonist Rahsaan Barber and bassists Kevin Axt and Chuck Berghoffer, among others — and hit the studio in September.
COVID-necessitated masks and isolation booths hardly interfered with the warm musical interaction among the musicians. That warmth comes across in performances such as “No One Needs To Know,” on which Griesbach and company emphasize the jazzy rhythms of Twain’s original version. Clarinetist Kirsten Edkins, violinist Stuart Duncan and guitarist Andrew Synowiec lend a strong undercurrent of Texas swing, and Synowiec’s solo also tips a hand to Django Reinhardt-inspired Gypsy jazz. The Kickstarter-funded project is a followup to Griesbach’s 2019 recording, My Pasty Cline Songbook, which took a similarly jazzy approach to a country-music icon. The singer has said that Cline’s was the music of her childhood, while Twain’s was the music of her “coming of age.”