And we're back to American Idol again. But not really. Only kind of. Taylor's rendition last week of "Take Me Home Country Roads" set me off in a different direction, and I'm glad it did. It got me to dig up a CD I hadn't listened to in a while, just to hear that version of the song again and remind myself of how different the same basic material can be with different interpretations. Because even though I fairly dislike that song, there's a version that I love, and it's by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, also known simply as Iz.
If you don't think you've ever heard Iz before, you're wrong. You have. You just didn't know it was him. You know that lullaby, sweet-sounding version of "Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World" that was used in a commercial several years ago? And then it was used in a plethora of films, most recently as the closing song for "50 First Dates". Well that haunting voice and ukulele strumming rendition is by Iz. Both that song and "Country Roads" can be found on his CD Facing Future.
Along with those two tracks, you'll find a selection of traditional Hawaiian songs along with some of Iz's more contemporary (contemporary for 1993) tunes. I love this CD. I don't know why I put it down for so long. Maybe you're already familiar with Iz. But if not, I think you'll dig him, and this CD is a great place to start.