Nobody, and I mean nobody, brings more to a performance than k.d. lang. But she’s not on the road that much, so you might have to settle for recordings. A good recording to settle for would be Shadowland, featuring production by country-music legend Owen Bradley and guest appearances by other divas-with-twang. This is probably the best song on Shadowland.
I actually saw k.d. last year, on her “Ingenue” tour, in which she played that breakthrough album end-to-end, then a bunch of hits. The place was packed, mostly with the gay and/or grey-haired. I’m not huge on Ingenue and it took k.d. a while to really warm up, but she got there and made the walls shake, and eventually sang Hallelujah, not a dry eye in the house.
But I’d seen her twice before. Once in the Nineties and that night’s version of Walkin’ After Midnight contained the most beautiful singing I’ve ever heard in my life, by anyone. And a thousand years ago in her pure-cowpunk phase; a thrill a minute and you couldn’t stop smiling.
Anyhow, Western Stars has a completely wonderful steel-guitar part, and some high notes that will make you shudder. You can’t go wrong with it.