It is fun to hear this indie singer/songwriter's influences and personal favorites through this EP of covers.
Artist: Tara Leigh Cobble
Playing Favorites is a 7-song disc that covers songs influential to Tara Leigh Cobble's musical journey. (This type of project of influential material seems like a new staple for all types of singer/songwriters – see projects by James Taylor, Justin McRoberts, etc.) For TLC, this includes songs by Patty Griffin, David Gray, Katrina and the Waves, as well as, a mashup of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Amy Grant's hit "Thy Word."
Griffin's "Rain" opens the disc and keeps the simple acoustic guitar, piano, percussion accompaniment of the original, but it is hard to duplicate Patty Griffin's vocal abilities. David Gray's "Please Forgive Me" is slowed down and stripped of its driving electronic beat, but Cobble does succeed at selling the song as a more heartfelt ballad.
"Walking on Sunshine," the 1985 hit for Katrina and the Waves and "Holding out for a Hero," Bonnie Tyler's Footloose contribution, both undergo fairly drastic alterations. Neither of these songs keep the same intensity of the originals, although "Hero" does come close.
For a moment, I was confused when I first heard "Everlasting Love." On the CD artwork the writers are labeled as Cason and Gayden, whose version was recorded by many artists including Robery Knight, Love Affair, and Gloria Estefan. This is not the song that Cobble covers, but rather Howard Jones' 1989 song of the same name. Regardless, Tara Leigh Cobble's version is the one highlight of the disc that finds the singer giving a song her own voice.
"I Wonder" is the lone Tara Leigh Cobble original on the album. The song's weighty lyrical content seems out of place next to the light and poppy covers that precede it.
The album ends with a medley of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" and Amy Grant's "Thy Word." While the two songs sound awkwardly forced together, it still showcases TLC's voice well and shows why she has had much success in her live performances.
For listeners already familiar with Tara Leigh Cobble, this CD will be a great insight into her influences and personal favorites, but overall, this does not give new fans the clearest picture of the singer/songwriter's best efforts.