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The Acoustic Chapel Sessions

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Album Review

Released to coincide with the 25th anniversary of his biggest-selling album, Whispering Jack, The Acoustic Chapel Sessions sees Aussie rock veteran John Farnham revisit three of its most famous tracks, alongside eight other stripped-back interpretations of classic material from his most successfully commercial period. Recorded at Melbourne's Chapel Off Chapel in the summer of 2011, his sixth live album and first solo one since 1999's Live at the Regent Theater spans 12 years of his record-breaking career, from an intimate reworking of 1984 drive-time favorite "Playing to Win" (originally recorded with the Little River Band) up to faithful renditions of tracks from 1996's Romeo's Heart ("A Simple Life," "Hearts on Fire"). Adhering to the latter's "if it ain't broke..." approach, the blue-collar country-rock of "Talk of the Town," the cover of Tom Kimmel's "That's Freedom," and the harmonica-driven hoedown of "Chain Reaction" offer little deviation from the originals. But elsewhere, Farnham uses the opportunity to reinvent songs that have formed the basis of his repertoire for nearly 30 years. He does so with conviction on "Pressure Down," which abandons its synth-heavy AOR sound in favor of a subtle and soulful gospel vibe, and "Two Strong Hearts," which transforms the impassioned MOR staple into a seductive slice of lounge-pop. But the acoustic setting means that some of his bigger and bolder tracks lose their anthemic appeal, in particular the cocktail bar arrangement of "Age of Reason" and the low-key treatment afforded to his only U.S./U.K. hit, "You're the Voice," which removes the bagpipe solo that made it so memorable. Following his recent big-band album and The Great Australian Songbook, his third consecutive unconventional offering suggests Farnham has started to forget what made him one of his homeland's musical legends, and while The Acoustic Chapel Sessions shows that he's still both in fine voice and a reasonable interpreter of songs, it's perhaps time that he got back to doing what he does best. ~ Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Customer Reviews

The Acoustic Chapel Sessions - John Farnham

Fantastic! John at his absolute best. Long may he continue to record... He has given new life to old songs and added something different to all of them. We love these old favourites as they were originally recorded and now we love them all over again. If you've been wondering whether or not to buy - you definitely should!

Kenny G Farnham

My God, he's Kenny G-ed all his songs. Love Songs and Dedications eat your heart out. What was he thinking?!

Jack is Back!

Interesting album, I guess we've been so use to the original versions that this is a little different which I think will eventually grow on me. Otherwise I'm looking forward to seeing him in concert very soon! Just hope he


Born: 1950 in Dagenham, Essex, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In a country of over 20 million people, John Farnham is the one Australian artist who stages arena-sized concerts whenever he tours to satisfy the demand. He is, without challenge, Australia's most successful solo artist, on-stage and on record. His Whispering Jack album was the first album to sell over a million copies in Australia alone. In September 1967 at the age of 18, he was signed to a recording contract and in December of that year released the novelty single "Sadie the Cleaning Lady,"...
Full Bio
The Acoustic Chapel Sessions, John Farnham
View In iTunes
  • $16.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Rock
  • Released: 30 September 2011

Customer Ratings