Old songs made new again

Okay, we admit it: We watch American Idol. Our favorite bit — besides the whole rubbernecking-at-the-train-wreck thing during the audition phase — is when the contestants sing Great American Songbook standards back into currency (even when they stink!). That’s why we were so happy to discover Maude Maggart — sister of angst-y singer-songwriter Fiona Apple — who might single-handedly restore some chic to poor old dusty cabaret.

Like her sister’s, Maggart’s voice is something of a marvel: breathlessly high, atonal, and fragile one moment, dark and husky the next. Her latest release, Maude Maggart Live (just out on CD), was recorded at New York’s Oak Room and L.A.’s Gardenia Room. Maggart puts her spin on old, forgotten classics like “You Go to My Head,” “I’m in the Mood for Love,” and, our personal favorite, “Coffee in the Morning, Kisses in the Night.” Her weirdly awesome interpretation of “My Funny Valentine” is particularly worth a listen.

“>BUY Maude Maggart Live

“>HEAR four full songs as streaming audio on her MySpace page

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Old songs made new again