Here’s a couple more CD reviews of two of my favourite theatrical performers and both cracking CDs which I recommend.
Julie Atherton – A Girl of Few Words
Possessed of one of the finest voices currently working in musical theatre if I say so myself, Julie Atherton captured my heart from the first time I saw Avenue Q and I’ve been under her spell ever since. This CD, featuring the songs of composer Charles Miller, marks her solo recording debut
I love most every song on here, but ‘If You Were Mine’ is particularly beautiful, the piano-led ‘Be Careful’ is excellent and the collaboration with Paul Spicer, ‘Someone Find Me’ is a fun duet, their friendship clear from the ease with which they harmonise and the final climbing chorus is just lovely. And if you’re lucky, there’s a nod to her most successful show, with a bonus track of ‘There’s A Fine Fine Line’ included,
A Girl of Few Words is widely available but here’s the Dress Circle link.
Simon Burke came onto my radar for the first time last year but he did so in quite some style, ending the year as a two-times fosterIAN award winner for his turns in the deeply moving When the Rain Stops Falling and providing the perfect foil for John Barrowman’s over-exuberance in La Cage aux Folles.
Taking in several shows from his varied career, Something About Always is Burke’s debut CD release and this really feels like a personal songbook with Burke sounding so relaxed and comfortable throughout. He has stuck to songs he is intimately familiar with and it pays off: his ‘Song on the Sand’ from La Cage aux Folles is wistful and romantic, Sondheim’s ‘Sorry – Grateful’ is rich and lyrical, but Falsettoland’s ‘What More Can I Say’ is my highlight, warm, tender and just perfect.
There’s two great guest spots as well: he has great chemistry on ‘True Love’ with his co-star from The Sound of Music Connie Fisher and is clearly having a ball with Caroline O’Connor on a sparkling, laughter-filled rendition of Cole Porter’s ‘You’re The Top’. Even ‘Edelweiss’ sounds like a thing of beauty here (never having seen the show, I have certain preconceptions about that song) with a lovely duetting section in there.
It helps that the songs are so well-arranged, for real instruments (no synthesised backing tracks here, Barrowman!) heavily piano-based with some nice touches of brass in there too and under Daniel Edmonds’ musical direction, they sound so classic that I can’t imagine them dating at all.
Some musical theatre albums are fine for dipping into but don’t play as whole albums: Something About Always is not one of those. Rather it is a well sequenced, beautifully arranged collection of songs featuring Burke’s rich, powerful voice in fine form which you will listen to from start to finish without disappointment, and then again!
Here’s a link to buy the CD, which I heartily suggest you do, from Dress Circle