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Album Review: Dermot O’Leary Presents – The Saturday Sessions 2013

4 min read

Every year radio show presenter Dermot O’Leary releases a record of his favorite performances from his Saturday radio show and aptly titles the collection, The Saturday Sessions.

DermotOleary2013AlbumPrevious releases from the series have allowed us to get our mits on top quality performances from the likes of Ed Harcourt, The Gossip, Lissie, Rumer, Will Young and Amy Winehouse. While A-list artists retain the majority of the record, Dermot also features a number of rising stars who extend their talents within the many genre’s the series contains. The collection combines performances from artists in a range of genres and styles who either perform an alternate version of their own hits or a stripped back cover of an inspiring penning or a guilty pleasure. Personal favorites and examples of the latter from editions gone by include Fyfe Dangerfields cover of the Girls Aloud hit, Call The Shots as well as Lily Allen’s version of Womanizer by Britney Spears.

With the new year comes the latest installment of The Saturday Sessions and a whole new line up of acts, along with a few regulars from past installments, unleash a string of performances from Dermot’s hugely successful radio slot.

There is a lot to pick and choose from on the collection we are offered here. Just like previous editions it comes in a two disc set so there is plenty to wrap your ears around.

Superstars don’t really come any bigger in the UK than Robbie Williams who has had a phenomenal return to the top spot this past year following the release of his latest number one album, Take The Crown. He delivers a stripped back and raw performance of the albums lead and number one single, Candy. He is joined by some complimenting female backing vocalists while he skips through the playful number, clearly having fun with his performance.

It seems no collection is complete without someone supplying a Beatles cover. Personally I think the collection could have survived without this but seeing as it is there it might as well be supplied by the brilliant Emeli Sande. Her rendition of Eleanor Rigby is spot on. The musical guidance for the star is stripped back and sweet as she plays over top a fantastic guitar accompaniment. Another of the UK’s biggest successes over this past year comes with Ed Sheeran’s syrupy and guitar driven performance of Jessie J’s ballad, Who We Are. His vocal infections and unrivaled ability to hop around a track with such spectacular precision is inspiring and he sounds terrific on the number.

Female singer-songwriters run through the track listing of this latest installation with the likes of rising stars Lucy Rose (Middle Of The Bed),  Laura Mvula (Green Garden) and Ren Harvieu (Love Is A Melody) all providing the collection with an injection of girl power. Harvieu’s mellow and melancholic performance is a notable one on the record – her vocals are tight and rich while the use of a piano to accompany her performance of Love Is A Melody was the right choice as it stands out from the majority of the artists featured on the album who opt for the use of a guitar to play them through their numbers.

Welsh rock outfit Manic Street Preachers come equipped with a big production for their performance of Your Love Is Not Enough as they play through a loud and sturdy rendition of the bands 2007 single which also comes drenched in some nostalgic swinging sixties qualities while front man James Dean Bradfield’s vocals are on top form.

Another nod has to go to Maverick Sabre who offers us a fine cover of Empire State of Mind, a track originally performed by soul superstar Alicia Keys from her album, The Element of Freedom. Maverick Sabre casts his own style over the track while a piano plays him through this memorable rendition.

This latest installment of the successful Saturday Sessions proves to be overflowing with hits once again, just like previous installments. Where other collections such as the Now That’s What I Call Music series draws in fans it is series like The Saturday Sessions that prove to be so much more than just hit singles – the collection is built around hit singles, hit artists and truly spectacular performances from the heart of artists that continue to entertain us day after day. Here they offer stripped back, acoustic and talent-rich performances of songs we have adored over the years.

Buy ‘Dermot O’Leary Presents – The Saturday Sessions 2013’ from Amazon