17 DEC 12 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Rachael MacFarlane is an in-demand voice actress currently appearing in several animated sitcoms, including her brother Seth MacFarlane's American Dad! Now she's stepping out from behind the cartoon curtain with the release of Hayley Sings!, her debut on Concord Records.
The Hayley of the title is the older daughter of American Dad's fictional Smith family, a long-suffering college-aged liberal activist always at odds with her staunch republican father. Hayley debuted two of the songs from this album on the series' eighth season premiere, which aired Sept. 30th.
Big brother Seth released his own collection of standards in 2011, backed by a smoking big band. Dropping in on his recording sessions may have given Rachael thoughts of doing her own. The siblings grew up in a musical household, with family singalongs and active participation in community musical theatre.
The set list runs from standard big band favorites like "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Out Of This World" and "I'm Glad There Is You" to surprises like a swinging big band version of the Chiffons hit, "One Fine Day." There are even more contemporary selections, with MacFarlane saying that Paul Simon's carefree "Feeling Groovy" is "a great marriage of Hayley and me."
The Mamas And The Papas' "Do You Want To Dance" gets a classic Latin beat that's so sultry the only possible answer to the title question is yes. A short interlude of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" halfway through the arrangement is quirky and reveals a fun sense of humor.
MacFarlane closes the album with another entertaining mashup. She opens with the Beatles' "All My Loving," in a soft hush of an arrangement featuring a beautiful guitar solo by George Doering. She then moves into Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man," and the energy level climbs considerably. After hearing this debut, you'll be looking forward to more from Hayley. And Rachael, too.