Belly of the Sun
For the first time in her 20-year career, Cassandra Wilson went back home to her native Mississippi to record, and the resulting 15-song set breathes with the elegance and the heat of the Deep South. Never one to be pinned down to a single style, she moves effortlessly here, easing her dusky voice through Fred McDowell's very bluesy “You Gotta Move,” sliding into the jazz nightclub ambience of “Darkness on the Delta,” and lending her ultra-cool delivery to some captivating covers, like Glen Campbell's “Wichita Lineman,” and James Taylor's “Only a Dream in Rio.”
Indeed, it takes an extraordinary singer to breathe life into songs that have been recorded time and time again. But when Wilson takes on the Band's “The Weight” at the start of this album or Bob Dylan's “Shelter from the Storm” later on, she turns them into her own. The disc also features an impressive duet between Wilson and rising star India.Arie on “Just Another Parade” and a couple of wonderfully loose cuts featuring 80-year-old-plus Mississippi pianist Boogaloo Ames.