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Listening to Glad Rag Doll, Diana Krall's new album of revamped songs from the Prohibition era, you might assume the singer has a natural attraction to old music. You wouldn't be wrong; Krall has recorded plenty of midcentury jazz standards in her career. But she says these particular songs from the 1920s and '30s never seemed old to her. She grew up singing them every weekend at her grandparents' house.
"After dinner, somebody would play the piano or the accordion or spoons, or whatever else was available in the kitchen," Krall says. "I was maybe 6 years old. Somebody was always playing something from a piece of sheet music. I still have the sheet music, and it still smells like cigarettes. I just thought that everybody's grandparents loved old music and loved jazz."
Some of the songs on the album come from her father's collection of 78s, which she says makes the project deeply personal. Krall and her 76-year-old father still spend time exploring his stacks of records.
"I spent about six hours with him recently," she says. "He just played records, and we just sort of looked at each other and tilted our heads, and it was all expressions on our face. There's so much said in those looks."
Krall says she was nervous about what her father would think, since she did not re-create the songs in their original style.
"This music is in my heart and is my sort of interpretation, not a tribute," she says. "But my dad is pretty open-minded and he kind of dug it, so I was thrilled about that."
Whether the decor is faux '50s silver and neon or authentic greasy spoon, diners are classic Americana, down to the familiar menu items. Rich, poor, black, white--all rub shoulders in the vinyl booths and at formica counters. We explore the enduring appeal and nostalgia of the diner.