New Moon Daughter

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New Moon Daughter
Studio album by
RecordedThe Turtle Creek Barn, Bearsville, NY and
Sound On Sound, New York City
Genrejazz, blues
LabelBlue Note
ProducerCraig Street
Cassandra Wilson chronology
Blue Light 'Til Dawn
New Moon Daughter

New Moon Daughter is the ninth studio album by American jazz singer Cassandra Wilson, released in 1995 on Blue Note. The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart in 1996.


The album is a logical continuation of the previous one, Blue Light 'til Dawn. In an interview for New York Magazine Wilson explained that the album's name comes from the old Ashanti proverb—Sickness comes with the waning moon; the new moon cures disease. The album contains 10 songs; she wrote five of them.[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Down Beat5/5 stars[3]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[4]
Entertainment WeeklyA–[5]
Los Angeles Times3.5/4 stars[6]
MusicHound Jazz4/5[4]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz3/4 stars[4]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[7]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[4]
The Village VoiceB–[8]

A reviewer for Gramophone was generally positive about the album, praising Wilson's voice and her interpretations of the standards included. However, they said that compared to the originals, Wilson's versions may not be as powerful. They noted that with this album, Wilson appears to move away "from jazz heartlands or cutting edges and towards the embrace of 'pop cult' status." The reviewer particularly enjoyed "Skylark" (calling it "sublime") and "Last Train to Clarksville" ("a delight").[9]

Rolling Stone's Geoffrey Himes reviewed the album positively. He noted its similarity to Wilson's previous album, Blue Light 'Til Dawn, but said that New Moon Daughter has more feeling and a darker tone. He said that Wilson makes Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" "her own". He noted the album's overall slow tempo as a weakness, wishing for a little more rhythmic diversity.[7] Scott Yanow of Allmusic described Wilson's voice on the album as "quite bored and emotionally detached" but noted that she was "stretching herself".[2]

Village Voice critic Robert Christgau was less impressed, writing that "most of these songs escape her attentions without a mark on them. Which isn't to mention the 'Strange Fruit' that establishes the surpassing weirdness of Billie's original, or the disastrous Monkees cover, designed to prove [Wilson] has a sense of humor I'm now convinced isn't there."[8] A reviewer of Dusty Groove added "A pivotal set from Cassanda Wilson – and a record that firmly established her as one of the freshest new singers in jazz at the time! The album's awash in rootsy, dusky tones – and has an earthiness that's clearly inspired by older blues, but expressed by Cassandra in voicings that are more clearly jazz-based".[10]

Appearances in other media[edit]

The song "Death Letter" from the album was used as an opening theme in the third season of television series True Detective released in 2019.[11]

Track listing[edit]

1."Strange Fruit"Lewis Allan5:33
2."Love Is Blindness"Bono, Adam Clayton, The Edge, Larry Mullen, Jr.4:53
3."Solomon Sang"Cassandra Wilson5:56
4."Death Letter"Son House4:12
5."Skylark"Hoagy Carmichael, Johnny Mercer4:08
6."Find Him"Wilson4:37
7."I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry"Hank Williams4:50
8."Last Train to Clarksville"Tommy Boyce, Bobby Hart5:15
10."A Little Warm Death"Wilson5:43
12."Harvest Moon"Neil Young5:01
Japanese bonus track
13."Moon River"Johnny Mercer, Henry Mancini5:22
EMI Digital (2003) bonus track
13."32-20 Blues"Robert Johnson5:23


  • Cassandra Wilson – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Cyro Baptista – percussion, Jew's-Harp, shaker
  • Dougie Bowne – percussion, drums, whistle, vibraphone
  • Gary Breit – Hammond organ
  • Kevin Breit – acoustic & electric guitar, banjo, bouzouki
  • Brandon Ross – acoustic & electric guitar
  • Charles Burnham – violin
  • Tony Cedras– accordion
  • Graham Haynes – cornet
  • Lawrence "Butch" Morris – cornet
  • Jeff Haynes – percussion, bongos
  • Peepers – background vocals
  • Mark Peterson – bass
  • Lonnie Plaxico – bass
  • Gib Wharton – pedal steel guitar
  • Chris Whitley – guitar (1)
  • Craig Street – producer
  • Danny Kopelson – engineer, mixing
  • Greg Calbi – mastering
  • John Chiarolanzo – assistant engineer
  • Bill Emmons – assistant engineer
  • Scott Gormley – assistant engineer
  • Fred Kervorkian – editing, assistant engineer
  • Steve Regina – assistant engineer
  • John R. Reigart III – assistant engineer
  • Tom Schick – assistant engineer
  • David Mayenfisch – photography
  • Berkeley Barnhill Stewart;- graphic design

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Position
1996 Billboard Top Jazz Albums 1
Billboard The Billboard 200 141
Billboard Heatseekers 9


  1. ^ Norris, Chris (18 March 1996). "Queen Cassandra". New York Magazine: 28. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b Yanow, Scott, "New Moon Daughter > Review", Allmusic, Rovi Corporation, retrieved July 20, 2010
  3. ^ Mandel, Howard (April 1996). "New Moon Daughter". Down Beat. Vol. 63 no. 4. p. 45.
  4. ^ a b c d "New Moon Daughter". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  5. ^ Browne, David (March 8, 1996). "New Moon Daughter". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  6. ^ Kolhaase, Bill (March 3, 1996). "Album Spotlight: *** 1/2, Cassandra Wilson, 'New Moon Daughter', Blue Note". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Himes, Geoffrey (February 2, 1998), "Cassandra Wilson: New Moon Daughter", Rolling Stone, Wenner Media, archived from the original on October 1, 2007, retrieved July 20, 2010
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 3, 1996). "Consumer Guide: Turkey Shoot". The Village Voice. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  9. ^ KS (April 1996), "JCassandra Wilson New Moon Daughter.", Gramophone, Haymarket, p. 145, retrieved July 20, 2010
  10. ^ "Cassandra Wilson: New Moon Daughter". Dusty Groove. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  11. ^ Coates, Tyler (2019-01-14). "'True Detective' Season 3's Theme Song Sets the Eerie Tone for the Mystery Series". Esquire. Retrieved 2019-01-17.
  12. ^ a b c "New Moon Daughter > Credits", Allmusic, Rovi Corporation, retrieved July 20, 2010