Hugh Laurie has the blues — specifically, a whole album full of it: The Golden Globe-winning star of House, now coming up on its eighth season, recently ventured into music for the first time on record.
His debut, Let Them Talk, which was released Stateside last week (it came out in May in his native U.K.), opens a window on his longtime passion for the genre, and Laurie opened it further by telling EW about the songs and albums that inspire him daily.
WHAT’S ON MY IPOD
by Hugh Laurie
There is a lot on my iPod. Playing non-stop, top to bottom, I suspect it would easily outlive me. It doesn’t smoke, of course. But then I don’t shuffle.
I also don’t do playlists. I began to feel decadent, surrounding myself only with Favorites. Like a Maharajah who never eats a bad fig — how can you know how good figs are? Playlists give me the feeling that I’m driving into a cul-de-sac, while an album is actually going somewhere.
Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G Minor: I offer this partly to make you think I have hidden depths, and partly because it is exquisite and forms the basis of a balanced diet. I listen to it often, but never as background music. I will put it on and lie on the floor. It is absurdly romantic.
Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert has never been far from my ears since I first heard it. He was touched by something that day. And yet, the recording very nearly didn’t happen. On the night, Jarrett was tired, in pain, fed up, and the piano provided by the promoter was sub-standard. So this might be an example of Kenneth Clark’s dictum – that no one ever had a good idea in a big room. If Jarrett had been fit and well, the piano had been a peach, the stars had twinkled – maybe this recording wouldn’t have transcended the way it still does, 30 years later.
Any album by Dr John can start and finish my day. He is my religious observance. His solo album, Dr John Plays Mac Rebennack is about as lovely as a thing could be. I studied it for years and taught myself to play the whole thing, note for note. That sounds musically stalkerish, because it is. I make no apology.
Jon Cleary – I will play one of his albums pretty much every day. A beast of a piano player, and a beautiful singer, his band (the Absolute Monster Gentlemen) can definitely funk it, assuming you have something that needs to be funked. And which of us doesn’t? His live album, Mo Hippa, is a corker.
Adrian Duke is in a similar mold to Cleary, but he has a looser, friendlier style. Live in New Orleans is a blast. His singing is great but completely unintelligible, which is fine with me. It relieves me of the duty to listen to lyrics, which I do only because I know I should. Lyrics are better as musical sounds than bearers of meaning. Meaning is for novelists.