Can't Take A Hint
Harry Shearer’s new release, Can’t Take a Hint, isn’t the first long-player by the star of TV (The Simpsons), film (This Is Spinal Tap, A Mighty Wind) and radio (Le Show), but it is the first to feature a world-class cast of musical collaborators.
The set features giants of pop, R&B and jazz whom Shearer has gotten to know in his travels: Dr. John (“Autumn in New Orleans”), Glee’s Jane Lynch (“Like a Charity”), the Fountains of Wayne (“Celebrity Booze Endorser”), Jamie Cullum (“A Few Bad Apples”), Alice Russell (“Trillion Dollar Bargain”), Judith Owen (“Your Thing”) and others. Shearer himself plays the bass on many of the songs.
Supporting these vocalists is a who’s who of instrumentalists and producers: guitar stars Jeff “Skunk” Baxter and Steve Lukather, Beach Boys/Brian Wilson musical director Jeffrey Foskett, producer John P. Fischbach, guitarist Bruce Gaitsch, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, session ace CJ Vanston and Memphis artist Charlie Wood.
Can’t Take a Hint, which follows Grammy-nominated albums Songs Pointed and Pointless (2007) and Songs of the Bushmen (2008), differs from its predecessors in that it isn’t limited to one topical theme. Rather Shearer, Le Show’s master of satire, tackles various issues of the day — from the foibles of celebrity to the Bridge to Nowhere, from the cost of war to weather extremes in Shearer’s beloved Crescent City.
With the exception of a couple of what Shearer refers to as “song songs,” most of the tracks are comedic musical sketches of the kind he produces for Le Show, which has been heard on public radio since 1983 and more recently as an iTunes podcast. Regular listeners to Le Show have heard a few of these songs over the past year or two but they have not been commercially available until now.