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Sarah McLachlan
Rarities, B-Sides, And Other Stuff Vol. 2
Nettwerk Records
www.sarahmclachlan.com


There are artists that folks just can't get enough of… singers that have such a depth of feeling in their music that fans want every piece of music that person has ever had their hands in. Well, Sarah McLachlan fans rejoice! Her Canadian lordship has just released the second volume of her Rarities, B-Sides, And Other Stuff. Volume 2 follows a great collection in Volume 1 that featured a ton of great music which tended more towards the obscure and deep fan-desired material. The second volume caters more towards her mainstream fandom and features tracks with amazing guests, as well as tracks used in movies and specific projects. McLachlan's cover of The Beatles' "Blackbird" is stunningly beautiful - simple, clean, crisp, dreamy, yet succinct. This is possibly one of the nicest versions of one of the nicest Beatles' songs ever recorded. Sarah touches on Joni Mitchell's "River" and duets with Cyndi Lauper on the latter's "Time After Time", which is relaxed and mainly acoustic, a far cry from the pseudo-rock original from 1980-whatever. "When She Loved Me", the heartbreaking ballad from Toy Story 2, is included here, lending a weightiness to the compilation before it opens up to duets with Brian Adams and DMC and a stunning version of "Angel", recorded live on piano at the Lilith Fair and featuring guest vocals by the incomparable Emmylou Harris. McLachlan joins Sweden's wonderfully epic rock band The Perishers for a version of their "Pills" recorded live and filled with a subtle, sincere power that few live recordings ably convey. Ladysmith Black Mambazo and McLachlan team up for a version of Paul Simon's "Homeless" that radiates an earthy joy and depth. The compilation winds up with some great downbeat tracks like McLachlan's superbly produced adaptation of the traditional "Prayer Of St. Francis" and her unique take on Kermit the Frog's "The Rainbow Connection." She records the classic "Unchained Melody" in a weirdly off-center way and joins the amazing Delerium on a remix of "Silence" that ends the album with a slightly upbeat, four-on-the-floor breathiness. But possibly the greatest track on the entire record is the beautifully haunting "Ordinary Miracle" that leads off the collection. This is probably one of the best McLachlan-penned tracks of all time, loaded with emotion and subtle truths. Beautiful.

-L. Keane

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