Acclaimed jazz singer and songwriter Madeleine Peyroux has just released Let’s Walk–her ninth studio album and first in nearly six years. The 10-track collection may be her most diverse, intimate, and eclectic work to date, as she shares thoughtful views on both personal and societal concerns. 

Let’s Walk incorporates elements from a wide variety of genres, including jazz, folk, gospel blues, Americana, chamber pop, and Latin rhythms. Developed partially during lockdown, all ten songs were co-written with longtime collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Jon Herington (Steely Dan, Lucy Kaplansky, etc). The album was produced, recorded, and mixed by multi-Grammy laureate Elliot Scheiner (The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, etc).

Let’s Walk is available in both stereo and immersive formats, mastered by Darcy Proper at Sono Luminus in Boyce, VA. Though one can stream the immersive mix via platforms that support spatial audio such as Apple Music, Tidal, and Amazon Music, it’s also available to purchase as a high-resolution digital download exclusively through the IAA shop!

Madeleine Peyroux Let's Walk Auro-3D Dolby Atmos Elliot Scheiner IAA Download

Scheiner is well-known in this space for his acclaimed work on the 5.1 surround mixes of iconic albums like The Eagles’ Hotel California (1976), Steely Dan’s Gaucho (1980), and Beck’s Sea Change (2002), but–at least to our knowledge–this is the first time he’s worked in an immersive format using both surround and height channels. The mix is presented in a 5.1.4 multichannel configuration, using the rear surrounds rather than the sides in conjunction with a quad height array.

An acoustic guitar mostly from the right speaker kicks off “Find True Love,” quickly joined by Madeleine Peyroux’s voice in the front ‘phantom’ center. Her vocal is woven into all five ground-level speakers, but appears most prominent in the front channels. A second acoustic guitar pops up largely in the rear left height speaker, along with rear-panned keys and percussion hovering overhead.

The accordion emanates from the front left height speaker for “How I Wish,” later joined by electric guitar over to the right. The organ in the rear surrounds nicely counters the brushes and acoustic guitar coming from the front stage, demonstrating Scheiner’s ability to craft mixes that are both very involving and extremely well-balanced in all directions.

The gospel chorus that opens “Let’s Walk” marches around the room to very fun effect, starting in the rear left speaker and finishing in the front right before the full band enters. Background vocals appear all around the listener, with the lower-register harmonies residing upfront and higher-register singers positioned behind the listener. The overhead speakers seem reserved primarily for rhythm guitars, though the backing vocals switch to the rear heights at a key moment.

Please Come On Inside” again makes full use of the immersive soundstage, with the talkbox in the rear speakers playing off Peyroux’s vocal upfront. Keyboards percolate from the rear left height speaker–along with tambourine largely in the rear right height–while Jon Herington’s guitar takes up residence in the front overheads. The talkbox later moves up to the front stage, ceding its position to the background vocals.  

The organ extends upward from the center speaker into the front heights for “Blues In Heaven,” while background vocals from the rear ("she wouldn't have to worry...") again alternate with the lead based largely upfront. All four height speakers fill up with different guitar parts in “Et Puis,” giving way to the rest of the band from below. The rhythm section remains largely weighted towards the front stage, with the keyboards firmly rooted in the rear speakers.

The Caribbean-infused “Me and The Mosquito” is definitely an immersive highlight, featuring guitars and percussion from overhead. Backing vocals and marimba fill up the rear speakers for the chorus, with additional harmonies pushed up into the front height channels.

The acoustic guitar throughout “Nothing Personal” appears centered in the rear speakers, hovering directly behind the listener’s head. Though the height speakers are kept silent for the first half of this song, they suddenly spring to life at around the three-minute mark to absolutely stunning effect.

Jon Herington’s bluesy guitar solo at around the two minutes into “Showman Dan” dominates the front stage, with the piano relocated to the rear and organ up in the front overheads. Let’s Walk then concludes with the tongue-in-cheek “Take Care,” inspired by the dub poet and activist Linton Kwesi Johnson. The opening guitar line hovers between the front right and front right height speakers, with additional percussion filling out the rear soundstage.

Let’s Walk arguably finds Madeleine Peyroux in the most creative and freeing place of her celebrated career. With eight albums and worldwide acclaim, she refuses to stand still upon arrival at a new artistic and creative plateau. True artists always continue to move forward, much like the album title suggests.

Elliot Scheiner’s immersive mix transports the listener into the rehearsal space with the band, revealing newfound details and intricacies in the arrangements. This is undoubtedly the definitive way to experience Let’s Walk, and demo material for listeners equipped with a multichannel speaker system.

Purchase Let’s Walk in Auro-3D and Dolby Atmos in the IAA Shop!

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Immersive Audio Album is a marketplace where immersive and surround sound artists can sell their music.