Thirty years removed from the run of pop stardom he found with his 1991 hit "I Wonder Why," Curtis Stigers returns on Feb. 25 with a new album called This Life. The new record revisits some of those early songs from a new angle, and "I Wonder Why" gets a marvelous reworking here. It's a twentysomething's song, reinterpreted by a now-fiftysomething who lends it a new sense of maturity.
Stigers, who says he's "no longer trying to convince the world that he'd listened to a bunch of Ray Charles," is still in fine form vocally. The simple jazz-trio arrangement – complete with a Stigers sax solo – nods to his decades-long career as a jazz-centered performer. This Life could easily be described as a "Great American Songbook" album, so long as you're willing to extend that songwriting circle to include Nick Lowe, Emmylou Harris, Leonard Cohen and Stigers himself.