The return of Paula Cole’s familiar voice

Would WAG like to hear the latest from Paula Cole?

When we received the invitation – and press materials – we admit we hadn’t thought of the Grammy Award-winning artist and activist in years, though we, along with so many others, had enjoyed her music in the late 1990s.

It was back in 1996 when her release “This Fire” brought Cole worldwide recognition with hit singles “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” and “I Don’t Want to Wait.”

We were curious to catch up, finding out she was now releasing her eighth studio album, “Ballads,” on her own label, 675 Records.

This latest effort features Cole’s creative interpretations of songs by Nina Simone, Bob Dylan, Bobbie Gentry, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and others in tribute to her father, who we’re told helped form her love of music.

And now that we’re all, ahem, more mature, the songs really hit the right note.

The 20 selections range from traditional to jazz, the blues to classics from the American songbook.

Favorites include “You’ve Changed” for the wistful feeling it evokes; the moody “Skylark;” “I’m Old Fashioned” and its timeless vocals; and the delicate interpretation of “Blue Moon.”

It’s definitely a collection that merits an investment of time. If you’re intrigued, check out “Ballads” – or head to City Winery in Manhattan Oct. 20 when Cole will perform.

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– Mary Shustack

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