Bremner Sings Kurt Weill, Vol:2


Sexy Angry Lovely Brutal:
Kurt Weill explores the extremes

My second album of Kurt Weill’s songs.

For almost 20 years, I’ve sung Kurt Weill's songs in every kind of venue: in lovely concert halls and in dark, dilapidated saloons, and I've watched audiences fall in love with Weill’s dark, sensual vision of the world. And after all these years, I’m still moon-faced and starry-eyed for these songs. 

When David Patrick (Jazz pianist and Scotland's artist of the year) suggested we collaborate on these songs, I knew two things: I wanted to stay true to the tradition of Weill’s music, but I also wanted to go as far as possible. I wanted to take chances that would let me dive into the heart of the songs: whether those hearts were filled with love or murder.

‘Pirate Jenny’ is an epic story of a brutalized servant's desire for revenge. It’s normally sung by a woman, but the sense of outrage and injustice is universal. It was terrifying and thrilling to inhabit these dark daydreams. Only Weill could turn the bloody fantasy of your master’s head falling to the axe into a thing of beauty.

‘I’m a Stranger Here Myself’ is all sex and sensuality. It's from a Broadway show about a gorgeous statue in the Metropolitan Museum magically brought to life to conquer the hearts of unsuspecting New Yorkers. Only Weill could have made this much raw, naked desire so ridiculously fun.

It’s a rare privilege to record the same song twice. To come back with the lessons of an extra decade (or so). And I admit, all those many years ago, I rushed to make my first recording of Weill’s songs. Call me young and crazy and ambitious, but Weill was a crazy, ambitious young man. I hope that recording captures that energy. This new album took me two years to finish. As I get older, I hear the depths in these songs and I wanted the time to craft them. Though, as I listen now, I admit, I’m actually still not sure which recording I prefer....

Here’s what I did years ago with Weill's song of bittersweet longing, 'My Ship'. Recorded in a home studio outside Paris, with me singing in the kitchen, while Stan Cramer played the piano in the living room.
And here’s what that song became on the new album, with David Patrick on piano, Andrew Robb on bass, and Dick Lee on clarinet and sax, with a version inspired by Miles Davis' recording of the same tune:


1            The Ballad of Mack the Knife 4:37                         

2            Youkali 4:30                    

3            Bilbao Song  3:37                          

4            Pirate Jenny (Johnny)  4:47                       

5            Lonely House  4:28                       

6            Surabaya Johnny  6:21                 

7            This Is New  2:47                           

8            Moon-Faced, Starry-Eyed  2:01                

9            I'm a Stranger Here Myself  2:34                            

10          My Ship  3:20                  

11          Foolish Heart  1:33                       

12          There's Nowhere to Go but Up  4:38                     

13          Alabama Song  3:16                     

14          One Life to Live  3:49



If you'd like to spend more time with these songs:
listen on
buy them on

And a final present. The longest song I’ve ever recorded: 6 minutes and 22 seconds of the heartbreaking, ‘Surabaya Johnny’.  Another song normally sung by a woman.  But Kurt Weill knows our hearts too well. He knows this is a song we all might sing someday. He knows we all experience deepest love, darkest betrayal and hopeless desire

Thanks to

thanks again to Toni Mustra for the amazing design, and of course David Patrick, Andrew Robb and Lisa Pasold, and the wonderful Stan Cramer and Edward Auslender for all those good times so many years ago.


And live, from the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh, in the residency that led up to this recording