“Give me this moment, this momentous moment”
I was excited by the prospect of a new John Owen-Jones album but the reality of Bring Him Home – A Collection of Musical Favourites was, I have to say, a little disappointing. For it is something of a greatest hits affair, collecting together tracks from three of his previous albums – Unmasked, Rise and his self-titled album and adding in just the three new songs.
Those tracks are Miss Saigon’s ‘Why, God, Why?’, West Side Story’s ‘Maria’ and ‘Suddenly’, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil especially for the filmed version of Les Misérables. Only the last of these has any real interest as something particularly new, although fans will enjoy the personal connection Owen-Jones has to the others (drama school audition song, and first show he was in onstage).
The rest of the collection focuses similarly on the mainstream and the shows in which Owen-Jones has risen to leading man fame. Phantom is represented by ‘The Music Of The Night’ and ‘Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again’, Les Mis by ‘Empty Chairs At Empty Tables’ and ‘Bring Him Home’; and there’s booming anthems aplenty elsewhere with the likes of ‘Till I Hear You Sing’ from Love Never Dies, ‘This Is The Moment’ from Jekyll & Hyde, Chess’ ‘Anthem’ etc etc
It’s all inspirational but rarely inspired, I always find more interest in Owen-Jones’ exploration of newer musical theatre and that is fairly thin on the ground here, along with the kind of subtleties that come across in live performance. A version of Wicked’s ‘For Good’ with Ruthie Henshall goes off at quite the lick but ends up coming across as glib, same too with the Bryn Terfel and Michael Ball-guesting ‘Pretty Lady’. Only William Finn’s ‘I’d Rather Be Sailing’ scratches that itch for me, so whilst this album reflects a powerful side of this supremely gifted singer, it is in his album tracks rather than these greatest hits that you’ll find his best moments.