“I’m a girl of few words
And I don’t make a fuss
But there’s something I’d like to discuss”
As with too many good musical theatre writers, transatlantic partnership Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds may not be the best known, but their work deserves a wider recognition as evidenced on their CD It’s Just The Beginning – The Songs of Charles Miller and Kevin Hammonds. British musician Miller and New York lyricist Hammonds have something of an old-fashioned soul, their songs very much part of the long tradition of musical theatre rather than a genre-busting radical new approach and as such, represent an interesting future alongside the Jason Robert Browns of the world.
To musical theatre aficionados, some of this music won’t be unfamiliar. When Midnight Strikes was performed at the Upstairs at the Gatehouse theatre last year and is well represented here (the emotive ‘Never Learned To Type’ is probably the highlight, the divine Caroline O’Connor wistfully breaking our hearts with a beautiful vocal. And Julie Atherton’s debut album A Girl of Few Words showcased 12 of their songs, two of which are reprised here – the wonderfully striking title track and the powerful duet ‘Someone Find Me’ with good pal Paul Spicer.
Elsewhere, there’s stirring duets like Marc Joseph and Helena Blackman’s ‘What Do I Do Now?’ and Mark Evans and Jodie Jacobs’ ‘Thief In The Night’, and passionate balladry best exemplified Pia Douwes’ beautifully plaintive He ‘Never Asked Me To Dance’ and the ever-charismatic Cassidy Janson bringing ‘There Will Come A Day’ to life. There’s also a sense of humour evident in songs like Donna Hines’ ‘Oogie Boogie Woogie’, Louise Plowright’s ‘Done’ and Shona White’s ‘St’u. The range of musical offerings make it hard to believe that Miller and Hammonds’ shows aren’t more widely known.