“Let It Be” is Paul McCartney’s “Imagine,” a secular song of faith and hope that we have heard so often over the past 45 years or so, it remains there for following generations to glom on because we know it too well. So it is to country singer Lyn Bowtell’s credit that on her new EP Calling You, her version of the song makes it fresh again. Stripped of Phil Spector’s soupy orchestration and with her crystalline voice, which just made her a sensation on “THE VOICE AUSTRALIA,” she delves into the song’s biggest problem: its inertia: she gives it backbone. Lyn performed it on the Television competition in her home country and became a mainstream pop star overnight.
The Beatle classic is the final song on Bowtell’s first release since her magnificent 2014 Heart Of Sorrow, and the country ballads we have loved so much are now gone, replaced with a pop mainstream sound, equal but with the twang gone. Think of the metamorphosis of Taylor Swift from Fearless to Red, it is that sort of a change, embracing a wider and more diverse audience with a voice protean enough to work itself through just about any genre. Sting’s “Fields Of Gold,” also performed on “The Voice,” finds itself in the middle of the EP and she sings it like a beatific dream of rural harmony. The third cover is Foy Vance’s “(S)He Burns”. The Vance Joy song opens the EP, and Sting and the Beatles are dotted as signposts enter here, one guesses an appeal to her new and wider base. But in between there are three Bowtell originals, and they are all great, especially the title track that effectively echoes the pain and beauty of her first two albums though without the country gentrification. If “Calling You” is the best song on the EP, “Far Away” is a post-modern lo-fi slide guitar hushed ache of a song, featuring partner Damon Morton.
Song for song, this is a fabulous EP and while after three years I’d have preferred more than three new ones, the entire EP is very easy to love for old fans and new. And anyway, it doesn’t matter what Lyn sings, that voice of hers will add glory and beauty to any and all.