Petra Haden’s wondrous new album Petra Goes To The Movies offers a one of a kind opportunity to experience some cinematic soundtracks in an extraordinary new way. Epic and evocative scores have been ingeniously recreated utilizing layers of remarkably inventive vocals. Far from a mere novelty, these interpretations retain every bit of emotional resonance and inspirational might as the originals.
Out this January 22 via Anti-, the album features Petra Haden, a highly regarded session musician and former member of That Dog, delivering a cappella versions of songs from films such as Rebel Without A Cause, Taxi Driver, Superman and more.
Haden, who hails from a musical family that includes her father, distinguished jazz bassist Charlie Haden, has contributed to records by Beck, The Twilight Singers, The Decemberists, Foo Fighters, Mike Watt and others as well as collaborated with the acclaimed guitarist Bill Frisell. In 2005, at the suggestion of bassist Mike Watt, she recorded and released an a-cappella rendition of the Who’s pop art masterwork “The Who Sell Out” to widespread acclaim. Upon hearing the record, Pete Townshend telephoned Haden to enthusiastically thank her, proclaiming her version of his album “beautiful.”
Petra Goes To The Movies is the culmination of Haden’s lifelong love for both vocal interpretation and movie music: “The idea of interpreting music with my voice started when I was little,” she explains. “I would hear music around the house and mimic the instruments with my voice. And I love movies but my favorite thing about them has always been the soundtracks. When people hear this record I want them to feel what I felt when I first saw the film, even if they’ve never seen it.”
In addition to Haden’s multi layered vocals, the record features notable guest appearances by jazz pianist Brad Mehldau, bassist Charlie Haden and Bill Frisell.
Haden says the songs on the album were selected from soundtracks she emotionally connected with and seemed to add something significant to the film – from the otherworldly sonic landscape of Ennio Morricone’s "A Fistful of Dollars Theme," the weight John Williams instilled in the noble and heroic "Superman" to the bittersweet romantic longing of Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Tootsie.”
“When I saw the film Social Network I thought it was a great movie but it was the music that really drew me in,” she explains. “I immediately got the soundtrack and when I heard the song “Hand Covers Bruise” I thought, ‘This is me.’ I recently sent my version to (the song’s co-composer) Atticus Ross and he wrote back, ‘This is f*cking amazing.’”