While not really a country album, “Sing: Chapter 1” is the album Wynonna has wanted to do for years. The lone new track on the album is the title track written by Rodney Crowell. “Sing” is the kind of song that, in the hands of many artists, would sound melodramatic and cabaret yet in the hands of a true master, the song’s uplifting lyric works on so many levels, the last of which is that Wy flat-out sings the hell out of the song. You’d be hard-pressed to recognize “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” as Wy and her production team has turned the Hank Williams classic into a string-drenched torch ballad. While that could be blasphemy to some, it works here and it is refreshing to hear it sung differently.
Most of “Sing: Chapter 1” actually showcases Wynonna’s love for the blues as she sings a pair of classic Robert Johnson tracks, Fats Domino’s “I Hear You Knocking” and the absolutely killer reading of Bill Withers’ seminal “Ain’t No Sunshine.” The ballads on the record, the oft-recorded Larry Henley/Red Lane “Till I Get It Right,” Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Anyone Who Had A Heart” and the standard “When I Fall In Love,” and you have what is an absolutely stunning class on how a great vocalist can command songs and make those other ‘covers’ albums that have been recorded by rock/pop artists seem lame and passé by comparison. If any future vocalists are looking to a blueprint for which to make a covers album, Wynonna’s “Sing: Chapter 1” should be it.