Trying to cover Patsy Cline? Are you…. crazy?
While most vocalists would fall to pieces, Staci Griesbach interpreted “Sweet Dreams” and other selections with jazz arrangements for an upcoming tribute album and received an unequivocal thumbs-up from Patsy Cline’s daughter, Julie Fudge.
“It is amazing to hear Staci interpreting Mom’s music for the jazz fan, as well as the traditional Patsy fan,” Fudge says. “These arrangements are new and fresh and so engaging. Even those that wouldn’t consider themselves a jazz fan will reconsider after hearing Staci sing these songs. I truly think Mom would have listened to this collection.”
“Sweet Dreams” is part of Griesbach’s self-produced homage to the legendary country artist, titled My Patsy Cline Songbook and scheduled for an August 23 release.
“No one can recreate the magic that Patsy Cline delivered in those precious recordings, we can only learn from her and be guided by her and those that have come before us,” Griesbach says. “Patsy could be considered much like jazz singers consider Ella Fitzgerald or Sarah Vaughn, as a master interpreter of these classic standards. My hope is that we can show the versatility of these incredible songs, the incredible songwriting, and the power of the reach through an iconic artist to help demonstrate the power of blending musical concepts across genres to create something new.”
To date, five Country Music Hall of Fame members have charted with “Sweet Dreams”: Faron Young, Don Gibson (who wrote the song), Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, and Reba McEntire. Loretta Lynn also recorded it on a Patsy Cline tribute album. However, it’s Cline’s version that set the gold standard upon its release in 1963, the same year she was killed in a plane crash.
Griesbach says, “Most of Patsy’s catalog is wrought with heartache, heartbreak and some sadness about love. ‘Sweet Dreams’ is a unique lyric because while the song is about a lost love and the pain of going through these sad feelings, there’s also a warmth in remembering the good things about a relationship after it has ended. So, I wanted to play off the title a bit more and shine a light on this sweetness that the lyric reminds us of when we’re thinking about the good times with an old flame.”
She continues, “To me, the bossa nova groove fits so well on this and allows us to contemplate this sweetness in a new way. Stuart Duncan’s incredible fiddle offers this mix between the typical ‘cry’ we hear from a fiddle while also keeping in that space of moving forward out of a relationship and acknowledging the sweet spots.”
Reflecting on her inspiration for the track, she adds, “I went to Brazil in February of 2016 to work with Celia Vaz on the arrangement of this, and the first performance was at a club called Beco das Garafas in Rio. I just love the bossa nova and Brazilian music, and knew I wanted this feel for ‘Sweet Dreams.’ We had a soprano sax on it at the time, but I think Stuart’s fiddle is just the right complement, and I love the juxtaposition of the bossa with fiddle.”