This is the latest single release from Scottish singer and songwriter, Evelyn Laurie. Written by Jeff Wayne, Gary Osborne and Paul Vigrass, it was famously sung by Justin Hayward in Wayne’s production of War of the Worlds. Evelyn and her co-arranger, Mark Theo McMillan, who also played all the instruments (guitar, bass, piano, drums), have given the song a jazz infused treatment that sympathetically interprets the meaning of the lyrics, while still staying loyal to the beautiful original melody.
A life-long singer in a variety of genres, Evelyn found a home in jazz and has developed her own distinctive approach to well-known standards and material not normally associated with jazz but innovatively arranged to sit comfortably within the genre. Her previous releases include two well-received albums of covers and originals: A Little Bit of Me (2018) and My Scottish Heart (2021) – a collection of old Scottish songs reimagined in contemporary jazz settings, described by Jazz Reviews as “an absolute gem”.
The first thing to say about this cover is that the arrangement is a well-balanced piece of writing that does do the original material justice while, at the same time, given the song an injection of jazz styling without losing the feel of Justin Hayward’s release. The instruments are all played well by Mark Theo McMillan and pitched just right for Evelyn’s light touch delivery.
Evelyn limits her vocal range and focuses on the timing and delivery of her lines both of which are good. In her email to me Evelyn states that she is “a late bloomer in the Scottish jazz scene”, how late a bloomer she is I am not sure, but it is good to hear that she is not trying to sing like a younger version of herself and straining to hit notes outside of her now natural range.
I liked the War of the Worlds album when it first came out and remember very well Justin Hayward singing ‘Forever Autumn’. I also like what Evelyn and Mark have done with the original, a good example of homage played and sung with respect.
This single was recorded and mixed by Mark with additional engineering by Standing Stone Studio, Barrhead and mastered by Chris at Gran’s House Studio, Biggar.
‘Forever Autumn’ is available on Bandcamp to stream/download.