http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/0acf30ddaab22931db1567620e8dc2c048637d36.jpg Leave Your Sleep

Natalie Merchant

Leave Your Sleep

Nonesuch Records
Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
May 10, 2010

As a member of 10,000 Maniacs and a solo artist, Natalie Merchant showed that her best traits were her refined taste and fetching, earthy voice. This handsome, long-brewing two-CD/book project flaunts both, setting poems and nursery rhymes to folksy tunes with a U.N. roster of A-list players who mine Irish, Chinese, African-American, European classical and other traditions. The music is beautiful and the vibe mellow, though Merchant gets Dixieland-brassy with Wynton Marsalis and tries some I-Threes-style reggae. But it's like that My Morning Jacket song about the sexy librarian: You wish she'd let her hair down more.

Album Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Try a Little Tenderness”

    Otis Redding | 1966

    This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

    More Song Stories entries »