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written by David Foster & Leah Felder

This week, we look back at Renee Olstead’s sophomore release, “Skylark.” Again, the young pop-jazz singer/actress teamed up with the legendary David Foster who masterfully produced her critically acclaimed, self-titled debut cd in 2004. The birth of “Skylark” was a bit troubled. Foster and Olstead started the sessions around the end of 2005 and worked hard for a couple years on the project. Together, they recorded many standards and original songs, but saw several changes to the tracklist before it met the approval of Reprise Records who finally released the cd on January 27, 2009.

“Skylark” followed the traditional pop/jazz footsteps of “Renee Olstead” with a song selection made mostly of American standards contemporized by Foster and his team. The tracks were richly arranged with a full orchestra backing up the gifted singer who gave a plethora of stellar vocal performances throughout the recording. One smart move was the inclusion of four original songs, all co-written by Foster, that gave the collection an interesting, fresh feel alongside gorgeous renditions of classics like “My Baby Just Cares For Me” and “When I Fall In Love.”. “Hold Me Now” and “Nothing But The Blame” were sophisticated ballads with lyrics written by Olstead that showcase the singer’s gorgeous style in a bluesy, tender musical mood. “Midnight In Austin Texas,” co-written again by Foster and Olstead, was a blues-influenced, up-tempo tune that sported a pop rock feel. “Midnight Man,” our pick of the week and co-written by Foster with Leah Felder, was an up-tempo goodie. This tune has a fantastic big-band arrangement by the renowned Don Sebesky with catchy keyboard playing by Foster. “Midnight Man” was founded on a shuffle rhythm and swinging mood perfectly executed by the top-notch, all-star band featuring Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Nathan East on bass, Dean Parks and Bob Mann on guitar plus a superb horn section that steals the show as the song develops. Olstead gives another stunning vocal presentation supported by a group of talented backing singers. If it wasn’t for the state-of-the-art quality of the recording by co-producer Humberto Gatica, “Midnight Man” would be easily mistaken for an evergreen coming from the golden age of big bands and swinging singers.

“Skylark” was a good seller on the jazz market, reaching #2 on the Billboard Jazz chart. “Skylark” also established Olstead’s name on the jazz circuit. Unfortunately, the cd failed to crossover to the pop charts where the Texas-born singer deserved to become the female version of Michael Bublé who has millions in platinum plus sales and worldwide recognition.


[audio:|titles=Midnight Man|artists=Renee Olstead]

Lead Vocals: Renee Olstead
Drums: Vinnie Colaiuta
Keyboards: David Foster
Bass: Nathan East
Guitars: Dean Parks & Bob Mann
Percussion: Rafael Padilla
Harmonica, Organ & Programming: Jochem van der Saag
Background Vocals: Lauren Evans, Angela Fisher & Quiana Parler

Arranged by David Foster
Horn Arrangement by Don Sebesky

Produced by David Foster & Humberto Gatica


Fifteen days
One day of some’thin long hours
I’m wish’n that man
would send me flowers,
anytime in the rain.
Over and over, in the night
he calls to me
long’n a kiss and cuddle me
he’s always still in my,
still in my dreaming.
I don’t wanna miss you
No I only wanna kiss you
Heaven says to me
If the sun don’t shine
think’n about that man
that’s taking all of my time
Kick’n back in the slick Cadillac
Sublime weather for romance
Summertime without my daddy
Squeezing all the sugar out that man’s candy!
I don’t wanna miss you
No I only wanna kiss you
Heaven says to me
If the sun don’t shine
think’n about that man!
So let it rain
it’s much better weather
the state I’m in
the thick knitted sweater
Warm sunny days
make my mind so foggy
let a pussycat is think’n chase’n that doggy!
I don’t wanna miss you
No I only wanna kiss you
Heaven says to me
If the sun don’t shine
think’n about that man
that’s taking all my time
All my time!
Oh take’n all the precious
Heaven bless me
the sun don’t shine
Just think’n about that man
He’s take’n all my precious time
Heaven bless me
Come on, help me
I don’t wanna miss you
All I wanna kiss you
It’s all about my midnight man.