Harry Connick Jr.

The multifaceted Harry Connick Jr. accomplishes another musical feat with Every Man Should Know.

It’s an impressively varied album of 12 new songs featuring music and lyrics written solely by the singing, piano-playing New Orleans native. Connick also arranged the songs and conducted the string orchestra at Hollywood’s legendary Capitol Studios. He recorded other sessions for the album at The Music Shed in New Orleans and Ocean Way in Nashville.

An artist who’s long been at home with pop standards, jazz, swing and New Orleans funk, Connick ventures further with Every Many Should Know. In the album’s Nashville-produced songs, he goes country and, at least from an artistic standpoint, successfully so.

Pedal steel master Paul Franklin and mandolinist-fiddler Aubrey Haynie contribute to the happy “Greatest Love Song.” Inspired by his wife, Jill, the song is worthy of country radio play. Another song from the Nashville sessions, the country-gospel “Time To Go,” is a song that crooner and occasional country singer Dean Martin would have loved to have sung. With “Time To Go” and others, including the bossa nova-styled “I Love Her,” Connick has created material worthy of his singing heroes.

Not restricting his muse to one genre or another, Connick builds title song “Every Man Should Know” into an earnestly felt gospel-R&B hymn. He moves into more new territory with “Come See About Me,” a beautiful, Nashville-recorded ballad that contains Bonnie Raitt-level longing.

Connick goes home to New Orleans for the gospel-meets-second line sound of “S’pposed To Be,” featuring Houston gospel singer Kim Burrell and New Orleans trumpeter Leroy Jones. More New Orleans peers, including Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Mark Braud, Mark Mullins, Bill Summers, Tony Hall and Raymond Weber, help Connick make Every Man Should Know another career highlight.

John Wirt