On delectable new album Le Bonheur, soulful siren Storm Large flips classic songs head over heels

Storm Large

An epic orchestral rendition of Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” stark harmonies for an “Unchained Melody” and a barn-burning version of Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love” are just some of the gems on Le Bonheur, the entrancing new album from Portland-based songstress Storm Large. Together with her band (also called Le Bonheur), the vocalist brings raw sophistication and a symphonic palette to a collage of American songbook, chanson française, glam rock and heavy metal. The album will be released on Pink Martini’s label Heinz Records on October 7, 2014.

Classic songs get a twist of what The New York Times called the “personality plus” of irrepressible vocalist Storm Large, whose singular career has traversed the West Coast club scene, reality television, symphony engagements and international concert halls with beloved retro-chic band Pink Martini. On this first release for Storm on Heinz Records, American songbook classics like Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” and Richard Rodgers’ “The Lady is a Tramp” shimmy up next to Black Sabbath’s “N.I.B.” and Lou Reed’s “Satellite of Love,” each reimagined in sparkling Technicolor arrangements. She shifts seamlessly between French and English during Jacques Brel’s famous heartbreaker “Ne me quitte pas” and adds honeyed harmonies while digging into the emotional core of “Unchained Melody,” then unleashes a brassy rendition of Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me,” in which Weimar meets fiddle funk. Two original tunes penned by Storm—“A Woman’s Heart” and “Stand up for Me”—suspend her smoky tones in expansive gospel choruses.

Storm calls on friends from the Portland indie scene to add their melodic charms to Le Bonheur including singer/songwriter Holcombe Waller, violin-cello-accordion chamber trio 3 Leg Torso and The von Trapps (yes, those von Trapps), plus an unforgettable appearance by the Atlanta-based sad clown performance artist Puddles Pity Party.

No stranger to the concert hall, Storm caught the classical bug during a series of critically acclaimed performances of Kurt Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins with both the Oregon Symphony and then with the Detroit Symphony at Carnegie Hall as part of the prestigious Spring for Music Festival, which earned her praise as “sensational” by The New York Times. In the coming season, she’ll be hitting the road with her band in support of the album and will also make her debuts with The New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, The Cincinnati Symphony, The Houston Symphony, and The RTE Concert Orchestra in Dublin, amongst others. Storm is also busy creating a new musical with The Public Theater in New York City.

Storm Large: musician, actor, playwright, author, awesome. She shot to national prominence in 2006 as a finalist on the CBS show Rock Star: Supernova, where Storm built a fan base that follows her around the world to this day.

Storm spent the ’90s singing in clubs throughout San Francisco. Tired of the club scene, she moved to Portland to pursue a new career as a chef, but a last minute cancellation in 2002 at the Portland club Dante’s turned into a standing Wednesday night engagement for Storm and her new band, The Balls. It wasn’t long before Storm had a cult-like following in Portland, and a renewed singing career that was about to be launched onto the international stage.

Storm made her debut as guest vocalist with the band Pink Martini in April 2011, singing four sold-out concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. She continues to perform with the band, touring nationally and internationally, and she was featured on their CD, Get Happy. Storm has also sung with Grammy-winner k.d. lang, pianist Kirill Gerstein, punk rocker John Doe, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright, and Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Famer George Clinton.

In 2007, she took a career departure and starred in Portland Center Stage’s production of Cabaret with Wade McCollum. The show was a smash hit, earning Large glowing reviews. Her next endeavor, the autobiographical musical memoir, Crazy Enough, played to packed houses in 2009 during its unprecedented 21-week sold out run in Portland. Storm went on to perform a cabaret version of the show to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival in Australia, and Joe’s Pub in New York. Her memoir, Crazy Enough, was released by Simon and Schuster in 2012, named Oprah’s Book of the Week, and awarded the 2013 Oregon Book Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Storm is featured in Rid of Me, a film by Portlander James Westby, starring Katie O’Grady and Theresa Russell. In November and December of 2010, she starred at the Mark Taper Forum with Katey Sagal and Michael McKean in Jerry Zak’s production of Harps and Angels, a musical featuring the work of Randy Newman.

In the 2013/14 season, Storm and her band, Le Bonheur, performed in many new cities around the country, including Las Vegas, Boston, and Minneapolis, in an evening called “Taken by Storm.” In June 2014, she appeared at the Ojai Festival with the exciting new orchestra The Knights and the vocal ensemble Hudson Shad. Later in the summer she debuts at the Grant Park Music Festival in Chicago.

Heinz Records is an independent record label based in Portland, Oregon. The label was founded in 1997 by Thomas Lauderdale and the band Pink Martini, and is distributed by NAIL Distribution /Allegro Media Group.

Named after Lauderdale's dog, Heinz Records has released all Pink Martini albums: Sympathique (1997), Hang on Little Tomato (2004), Hey Eugene!(2007), Splendor in the Grass (2009), Joy to the World (2010), A Retrospective (2011), 1969, a Pink Martini and Saori Yuki collaboration (2011), Get Happy (2013) and Dream a Little Dream (2014) a Pink Martini and The von Trapps collaboration. The label also released China Forbes' album '78 (2008).

View tour dates here.