Music Review: Julie Atherton – A Girl of Few Words & Simon Burke – Something About Always

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 – Something About Always

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

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