Album Review: Our First Mistake – The Songs of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk (2010)

“It not a love story, not a coming of age
It’s not the kind of thing you put into a play.”

Good song-writing is good song-writing but it certainly helps if you have stellar interpreters of songs on hand to deliver what you’ve composed. And so it is on Our First Mistake – The Songs of Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk which finds the likes of Kelli O’Hara mourning the death of a relationship on the pragmatic ‘Not a Love Story’ and Natalie Weiss on the equally bruised ‘How To Return Home’, both performers fully inhabit their characters within these songs and you’re instantly given to a sense of excitement at what a Kerrigan/Lowdermilk musical might sound like.

They’re a US musical theatre writing team who, like so many others, are patiently waiting for their big break. Shows such as Henry & Mudge and The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown have raised their profile and in the latter case, show real promise from the tracks included here in their relaxed pop sensibility that Waitress is currently working so well. Vienna Teng’s delicate piano balled ‘Say The Word’ is a gorgeous opener to the collection and the way its tentative romantic inclinations are met with Michael Arden’s ‘Run Away With Me’, its quiet emotion slowly building in confidence, whets the appetite beautifully.

If I’m being completely honest, it’s perhaps a little disappointing that on a 10-track album, one track is repeated and another is just a brief piano interlude, meaning there’s only actually 8 different songs on here, even if the strummed guitar and easy harmonies of The Spring Standards’ take on ‘Run Away With Me’ puts an interestingly different spin on the track.. I appreciate that putting an album is far from an easy feat and you should always leave them wanting more but you also want to be fully satisfied too and I think Our First Mistake misses the mark slightly there.

And that’s because these songs are good and I want to hear more. Matt Doyle’s ‘Last Week’s Alcohol’ with its grinding to a German techno beat makes you taste all the drunken regret you’ve ever had and ‘My Heart Is Split’ offers another side to the college experience, the push and pull of homesickness versus the excitement of the new given sonorous life by Laura Osnes, and Meghann Fahy. A composing team to keep an eye on and in The Unauthorized Biography of Samantha Brown, a show to look out for as it is surely perfect for a production at the Union or Finborough or suchlike. 

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