John Barr - All I Am
John Barr - All I Am
John Barr - All I Am (CD NEW)
Label: Cd Baby.Com/Indys
Release Date: 19 Jan 2010
No. of Discs: 1
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1. Somethin' Good
2. Absent Minded Me
3. Come What May
4. A New Life
5. I Gaze in Your Eyes
6. The Very Thought of You
8. By Myself
9. As Time Goes By
10. All I Am
11. As Long As You're Mine
12. Heaven Holds the Ones I Love
14. The Journey
15. I'm Glad There is You
16. Dad's Song - Where Do I Start?
'Let me show you all I am,', sings John Barr in the title track to his fifth solo CD, and it's not just an idle promise: in the rich, varied and deeply personal collection of songs that he has collected here, drawn largely from the musical theatre and cabaret repertoires, he does something infinitely more. He takes the listener on a journey, at once textured and resonant, into the centre of his life and emotions. All singers choose their material because it speaks to them personally; but it's more rare when they connect to it so perfectly that the material speaks through them to speak to us personally too. But what's exciting, too, is the range and diversity of both the material and his unique approach to it. There are some songs that are familiar, of course, like Casablanca's 'As Time Goes By', but joined by David McAlmont on vocals and thanks to the inventive and insinuating new arrangements of Simon Deacon and Andrew Lynwood, it's given such a refreshing new funky spin on it that makes it sound freshly minted. Then again, a song like Ray Noble's classic 'The Very Thought of You' is given a yearning, stripped back simplicity, only backed by Deacon's piano arrangement that lends it a delicate, fragile beauty. Missak Takoushian's solo guitar provides the haunting introduction to a gorgeous rendition of Conner Reeves' lovely 'Earthbound', beautifully accompanied by Alison Jiear. And 'As Long As You're Mine' from Wicked, with Jenna Russell joining him in blazing voice, provides continuity to all of Barr's four previous solo CDs; it's composer Stephen Schwartz has featured on every single one. But Barr doesn't just do familiar things in new ways. He does new songs that make them into instant classics. Jason Carr's 'Somethin' Good' introduces the album - and sets the pulse racing for the promise it contains of what the album is about to deliver: 'I can't wait, something good's coming my way', he sings, and it does for the singer, the song and the listener, in turn. The most personal song on the collection is undoubtedly 'Dad's Song - Where Do I Start?', that Barr has co-written with David McAlmont and Natasha Panas. The entire album is dedicated to the memory of his dad Leslie Barr, but there's no finer tribute than this loving song. He proves himself to be that rare thing: a British theatrical performer who understands that you could express yourself through a song, not a character, and distil something of your own character in the process. This latest CD collection reveals him in yet another new light, with a maturity in both voice and depth of feeling that testifies to a life that has been lived in all the contradictions of pain and joy that it can bring. And it's also a wonderful testament to friendship too: he is joined by the stunning likes of Alison Jiear, David McAlmont, Jenna Russell and Rebecca Vere on several tracks; and he also has a personal connection to many of the composers whose work is featured here, as well. Mark Shenton Theatre critic, Sunday Express.
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