K.D. Lang

Mostly Credited As: K.D. Lang
Sometimes Credited As: k. d. lang

Birth Name: Kathyrn Dawn Lang
Date Of Birth: November 02, 1961 (Age 54)
Country Of Birth: Canada
Birth Place: Consort, Alberta
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)

K.D. Lang

Over the last twenty years, k.d. lang has lent her voice to an astonishing range of material, from Nashville tearjerkers to Tin Pan Alley torch songs, from playful cow-punk tunes to sultry, grown-up pop. With her Nonesuch debut Hymns of the 49th Parallel, the Alberta native brings it all back home, metaphorically speaking, exploring the work of her favorite Canadian songwriters: Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn, Ron Sexsmith, and Jane Siberry. She juxtaposes classics from iconic artists who were her inspirations with equally brilliant material from contemporary performers who remain her fellow travelers.

Lang was initially inspired to pursue this project after touring with longtime collaborator Tony Bennett, with whom she had recorded the 2002 duet album A Wonderful World, a collection of standards popularly identified with Louis Armstrong. lang told the Toronto Star, "It led me to thinking about the Canadian songbook and my own musical heritage. The more I thought about it, the more I thought about the people who influenced me and my culture." She considers it "a singer's job to cultivate standards by interpreting" and on Hymns she does her job exceptionally well. lang offers some of the most affecting vocal performances of her career, thereby ensuring that all of these personally treasured tunes will be appreciated for a considerable time to come. She emphasizes the poignancy and gravity of "After the Gold Rush," Young's cautionary tale of environmental disaster, and renders Cohen's "Hallelujah" even more compelling by taking it down to an intimate, sensual scale. lang makes Cockburn's "One Day I Walk" a plainspoken prayer and brings both worldliness and vulnerability to Mitchell's "A Case of You," a barroom soliloquy in which heart-sickness and homesickness intermingle.

While it's thrilling to hear lang tackle this vintage material, perhaps the most revelatory moments on Hymns are also the most contemporary. She deftly negotiates the musical and emotional twists and turns of friend Siberry's gorgeous "The Valley" and delivers a rendition of Siberry's "Love Is Everything" that's as otherworldly as lang's famous cover of Roy Orbison's "Crying." (lang and Siberry have worked together before: in 1991, the pair collaborated on another hymn of sorts, the incantatory "Calling All Angels," for Wim Wenders' film, Until the End of the World.) She also revisits her own "Simple," co-written with bassist David Piltch, a no-minced-words declaration of love that she originally recorded in 2000 for her dreamily romantic pop collection, Invincible Summer. She pored over the work of many artists before choosing these songs. In the process, lang told The Rocky Mountain News, she discovered "this thread that runs through Canadian songwriting that is really beautiful. It's their inherent understanding and incorporation of nature and the elements into the songwriting to express emotions, both spiritual and human." One can find it,

for example, in the austere seasonal imagery of Sexsmith's "Fallen" or the moving evocation of a town left behind that opens Young's "Helpless." For the album's cover, lang chose a photograph by Andy Goldsworthy, whose minimalist image of a winter pastoral scene struck lang as a visual analog of the naturalism that unites Canadian songwriters. Lang cut the tracks during five days of sessions at a Los Angeles studio in May 2003. Accompanying her was a small group of players who have recorded and/or toured with lang for many years: pianist Teddy Borowiecki, bassist Piltch, and guitarist and co-producer Ben Mink. Except for a version of Joni Mitchell's "Jericho," drums are pointedly absent from these tracks. As lang explained to the Toronto Star, "I didn't want to use drums because I felt that drums would instantly attach each song to a genre...I wanted each song to stand on its own." However, they do feature strings, arranged and conducted with understated grace by Eumir Deodato, a veteran of sessions with artists ranging from Astrud Gilberto to Aretha Franklin. "I wanted to express the elegance that the songs all have," lang says. "Eumir Deodato has an amazing capacity to understand the intimacy of a track."

In May 2004, lang embarked on a symphony orchestra tour of North America, relying on Deodato's subtle arrangements to showcase selections from Hymns as part of a career-spanning set. Along with Borowiecki and Piltch, lang is joined on tour by guitarist Greg Leisz and drummer Danny Frankel—as well as by a locally based symphony orchestra in each city she visits. Early reviews have been stellar: The New York Times called her "entrancing" and the Toronto Star praised her "astonishing infallibility" as a vocalist. As her audiences at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall indicate, lang attracts a loyal and diverse, multi-generational following. A multi-Grammy Award-winner, she's recorded more than thirteen albums, including collections of straight-up country (Shadowland), urbane adult pop (Ingenue, which featured the hit "Constant Craving"), sophisticated torch (Drag), and just a little disco (for the soundtrack of Gus Van Sant's Even Cowgirls Get the Blues). Hymns of the 49th Parallel illustrates lang's impeccable taste and reveals the deepest roots of her craft. For the length of an album at least, there's no place like home.

TV Appearances

Main cast 
The Last Don (1997)As: Dita Tommey
Episode Cast Credits 

The Graham Norton Show (2007) 
  Jennifer Hudson, Bill Bailey, K. D. Lang 09x02: (Apr/22/2011) As Herself 

The Alan Titchmarsh Show (2007) 
  Series 8, Episode 33 08x33: (Apr/20/2011) As Herself 

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) 
  Jamie Foxx, Jesse Heiman, k.d. lang 19x66: (Apr/11/2011) As Herself, [Musical Guests]
  Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, k.d. lang 18x16: (Mar/22/2010) As Herself, [Musical Guests]
  Tribute To Johnny Carson 13x80: (Jan/24/2005) As Herself 
  Jesse Ventura, Wayne Brady, K.d. Lang 10x42: (Aug/14/2001) As Herself 

Live with Kelly (1983) 
  Wedding Week: Kate Hudson, K.D. Lang, 26x113: (Feb/06/2008) As Herself 
  ??x??: (Unknown/Unaired) As Herself 

Good Morning America (1975) 
  Cher; k.d. lang; 33x107: (Feb/05/2008) As Herself 

Parkinson (2004) (2004) 
  Ewan McGregor, Kenneth Branagh, Paul Merton, K.D. Lang 07x09: (Nov/17/2007) As Herself, [Interviewees]

The Dame Edna Treatment (2007) 
  50 Years In Showbusiness (Jun/30/2007) As Herself 

Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993) 
  Martin Scorsese, Paget Brewster, Tony Bennett & k. d. Lang 10x47: (Dec/13/2002) As Herself 

Parkinson (1998) (1998) 
  Richard Attenborough, Ian Botham, Richard Wilson, k.d. lang 04x07: (Oct/21/2000) As Herself, [Interviewees]

Dharma & Greg (1997) 
  Hell to the Chief 03x23: (May/09/2000) As Herself 
  The Trouble with Troubadour 03x15: (Feb/08/2000) As Herself 

Intimate Portrait (1993) 
  Mia Farrow 05x05: (Jan/19/1999) As Herself 

The Late Show with David Letterman (1993) 
  Dan Rather, Kathy Griffin, k.d. Lang 04x192: (Jul/24/1997) As Herself, [Musical Guests]
  Stupid Human Tricks, Mira Sorvino, k.d. Lang 03x116: (Mar/06/1996) As Herself, [Musical Guests]
  ??x??: (Unknown/Unaired) As Herself 

MTV Unplugged (2005) (1989) 
  k.d. Lang 04x05: (Apr/28/1993) As Herself 

Pee-Wee's Playhouse (1986) 
  Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special (Dec/21/1988) As Herself 

Portlandia (2011) 
  ??x??: (Unknown/Unaired) As TBA 

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003) 
  ??x??: (Unknown/Unaired) As Herself 
Featured Songs

Crossing Jordan Songs:
Fire from the Sky + After The Gold Rush 
Heroes Songs:
+ Crying 
The O.C. Songs:
The Graduates + Hallelujah 
Numb3rs Songs:
Brutus + Hallelujah 
Provenance + Hallelujah 
Brothers & Sisters Songs:
Mistakes Were Made (2) + Simple 
Family Portrait + Helpless 
Doctor Who Confidential Songs:
Send in the Clones + If I Were You 
Spijkerhoek Songs:
Begin van ’t spel + Teardrops 
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