Janet Planet’s ‘Of Thee I Sing’: A Very Hip Trip
Forget that the title evokes Kate Smith and the contents include some of the potentially hokiest songs ever written – whether you’re vacationing or staycationing this summer, pack this new recording into your iPod. If any of Janet’s work is going to get major airplay, Of Thee I Sing is it.
The basic concept is a winner–14 mostly familiar tunes chosen specifically to celebrate our country, our communities, and the people who live there.
But what makes this recording outstanding–in addition to Janet’s customary excellence and the solid musicianship throughout–is the good old American ingenuity of arrangers John Harmon, Tom Washatka, and Tom Theabo, who convert potentially somnolent tunes like “Home on the Range,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” “Gary, Indiana,” and “Old Cape Cod” into high-octane jazz, fueling a very hip trip.
On the jazzical journey, which runs roughly east to west, you’ll make musical stops–some expected, some not–in Rhode Island, Manhattan, Cape Cod, New Orleans, Chicago, Gary, Wyoming, Chattanooga, Texas, and San Francisco. You’ll also fall in love on a Greyhound bus, somewhere along Route 66.
Aside from the pitch-perfect Janet, your traveling companions include Harmon on piano, Washatka on sax, Theabo on guitar, John Gibson on bass and Danny Leuck on drums.
With drivers this skillful, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.