For female Australian artists of a certain age, releasing a covers album — or two — seems almost inevitable. With her latest release, though, Marcia Hines takes this covers album concept to another level: on Marcia Sings Tapestry, she does just that, re-recording Carole King’s 1971 masterpiece in its entirety (with a couple of King’s other compositions tacked onto the end for good measure).

One has to ask: why?

“This album was actually suggested to my manager and I by a friend of mine. We talked about it, and I got a CD of Tapestry, because my vinyl is long gone now. I put it on repeat for a month to get to know those songs again and wrap my head around how I’d go about singing them, and whether I could,” Hines explained.

“After driving my family crazy for a month, I agreed. I went into the studio and sang it live with the musicians, which is really unusual for a solo singer — usually you sing to the track, after the musicians are done. I recorded like that ‘back in the day’ as they call it, but I haven’t for years.”

The result is a warm, loving tribute to King’s artistry, with Hines’ vocals as clear and passionate as ever.

“When an album has been as popular as this, it means it really means a lot to a lot of people. But it was recorded in 1971, and it’s 2010 now, so it can’t sound exactly the same – technology’s different. It’s faithful, but just putting my voice to it has changed it. My vibe’s different to Carole’s vibe.”

When the album was released in January of 1971, catapulting Carole King from songwriter to global star, Hines was also stepping into the limelight. The then-18 year old had travelled from the US to Australia to perform in the musical Hair, the first big break in what has become a 40-year career. She revealed that, as a teenage mother carving out a life for herself in a new country, Tapestry meant a lot.

“For the first time, I heard a woman talk about things no woman I’d heard talk about. Like being on the road an how lonely it is. Stuff like, if we do it now, will you still love me tomorrow? It was all very real, and it was happening then. Carole hooked into that, because she was living it.”

While the album seems to have passed the test for fans, having spent several weeks inside the top 20, there’s one important person who’s yet to hear it.

“We’re going to make a concerted effort to get it to Carole King so she can hear it. I hope I don’t hear something back like, ‘oh god, she’s ruined my album!’”

info: Marcia Hines performs at the State Theatre on December 4. Tickets through Ticketmaster.

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