Canadian vocalist Micah Barnes released his latest single from his album “Vegas Breeze” last week. With momentum building, today the accompanying video was released. Micah is best known from the 1980s A cappella band “The Nylons” who’s song “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” is known across the world by most people who still have a pulse. “Vegas Breeze”, Barnes’ follow up to the 2015 “New York Stories” album, was released in Canada in June this year, debuting at #1 on the iTunes Jazz charts and generating well over 500,000 streams. The album is set for European release in early 2021.
Speaking of his latest single “The End of a Love Affair” Barnes said “It felt like time to give folks the torchy ‘bar stool’ ballad.” he continued “Every Vegas entertainer seems to have that moment where they sit on a stool, in the middle of the spotlight, and sing about the heartbreak of a love affair gone wrong. It’s the flip side of the Vegas high life when the glitter and neon have faded & our high rolling hero admits to being a loser in love.”
In some ways, ‘The End of a Love Affair’ is the perfect saloon song,” Barnes adds, offering its astute lyricism and melody as indisputable evidence. “The listener never drowns in the emotion but stays buoyed up in its mood of sophistication and intelligence. “After all, what happens when we are suddenly alone at the end of a love affair?” he muses. “We may drink too much, talk too loudly, drive too fast, but hopefully we’re still in the game, hoping to love again. So the rhyming scheme of this song alone makes the singer sound ‘world-weary and wise’ rather than broken and desolate.”
It’s this very foundation and creative opportunity that attracted Barnes to the song in the first place. “What attracts a singer to a song? Is it the melody? The lyrics? The overall mood? Or is it perhaps the emotional response to another artist’s performance? With ‘The End of a Love Affair,’ it is for all of those reasons I was interested in working on my own version for Vegas Breeze.
“Like all tracks on the album, the arrangement for this song started with the band in our weekly creative sessions long before we hit the studio. The band and I chose to arrange the song as a sensual and slow Bossa Nova, and give it strings that swirled around the lonely trumpet; an intimate vocal heightens the feeling of dissolution and despair.
“Once pianist and arranger Michael Shand worked his magic re-harmonizing the verses, I felt we’d deepened the languorous mood and really put our own stamp on the song.
“Certainly, this little-known standard written by Edward Redding lands firmly in our #BeyondTheRatPack concept of avoiding the ‘regular Vegas playlist,’” he continues. “Many fine versions exist — including by Billie Holiday, Nat King Cole, and Frank Sinatra — but it’s actually Johnny Hartman’s 1956 Bolero version that made me excited to try it myself.
“After laying the bed track with the trio — including Russ Boswell on bass and Al Cross on drums — and getting that classic Bossa Nova feel on guitar with Rob Piltch, the next move was to bring in master trumpet man William Sperandei; his soulful playing makes this essentially a duet between two heartbroken guys, all surrounded by Don Breithaupt’s deliciously silky-smooth string arrangement.
“The results perfectly express the kind of mid-century torchy ‘cool’ I was hoping to create on Vegas Breeze.”
Vegas Breeze is scheduled for European release in late January 2021.
Last modified: November 13, 2020