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OTHER ITA SITES:
I AM STILL - a CD from D.C. Anderson is a lesson in performing
“Spin it a couple of times before forming an opinion. It’ll grow on ya.” – D.C. Anderson
D.C. Anderson is a New York City based actor, singer/songwriter and photographer. As an actor he has appeared on Broadway in Andrew Lloyd Webber's ‘The Phantom Of The Opera,’ on National Tour in ‘Pippin’ (as Pippin), ‘The Life And Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby,’ and ‘Martin Guerre,’ regionally at the Guthrie and Steppenwolf Theaters and in episodic TV and movies made for television. As a cabaret performer he has made 6 appearances in the Mabel Mercer Foundation's Cabaret Convention at Town Hall in NYC as well as gigged at Don't Tell Mama, Triad, 88's, Toulouse, Davenport's, Downstairs Cabaret Theater, the Plush Room, the Cinegrill and Gardenia cabaret rooms. ‘Cabaret Noel: A Broadway Cares Christmas,’ the 2 CD holiday benefit recording, was initiated and co-produced by D.C. in 1993. In 1995, along with Karen Benjamin and Margaret Irwin, he produced the first in what has become an annual nationwide benefit event – ‘A Holiday Cabaret.’ His solo recordings include the CD's ‘Time Was’ (1993), ‘The Box Under The Bed’ (1997), ‘Blue Summer Day’ (2000), ‘All Is Calm, All Is Bright’ (2001), ‘Collected’ (2002) and ‘Ballad’ (2004). D.C. is also a Bistro award-winning songwriter. A revue of his songs ‘Not For The Squeamish’ has been performed in New York City and Minneapolis. His songbook ‘Songs By D.C. And...Volume 1’ is available through LMLMusic.com. PBS stations nationwide have broadcast his 1997 concert as a part of the Brownville Concert Series. www.dcanderson.net
D.C. Anderson is a friend of mine. We’ve worked in the theatre together a few times. In the nineties, we performed together in a production of ‘Man Of La Mancha.’ Around that same time, I directed him in a production of ‘You’re Gonna Love Tomorrow.’ During that same season, I directed him in a production of ‘Dames At Sea.’ D.C.’s sister, Claudia and I worked together on a tiny little holiday production of ‘Amahl And The Night Visitors.’ Back then, D.C. gave me his first CD, ‘Time Was,’ and it played over and over at my house (still does). I have always thought that D.C. Anderson has a perfect voice (in the same way that I’ve always thought that Barbara Cook has a perfect voice). He has an ideal vocal production that I’ve always strived for in my work as a voice coach. The sound is musical, effortless and alive. There’s nothing forced about what D.C. does. His singing voice is his speaking voice made melodic. Since D.C. is a strong actor, there’s a real presence in his songs – he’s there in-the-moment in each song. Each song is a mini-play, or really, in these recordings, more like a small independent film. As a voice coach, I frequently use recordings by many famous singers, to have voice students hear this ability to fully become the song. D.C. Anderson’s recordings are a master’s lessons in performing this way.
“Theatre people” will enjoy this CD, while this CD is not really “theatrical” (in that it is not a bunch of show tunes). This CD is a collection of songs that are gentle, humorous, sad, witty, grieving, tender and touching. It’s a sort of song cycle of modern art songs - songs that are in a sort of folk style. I write that with trepidation, as it implies a sort of “stuffy” or “old fashioned” sensibility, and this CD is not “stuffy” or “old fashioned” even while it is in the best possible way, “old school.” This CD is like a well-made independent film. Not catering to the mass-market style of popular music today, “i am still” is true to itself, true to D.C. Anderson as an artist.
I was lucky enough to receive this CD in the mail a month ago and have been living with the CD ever since. Now I think it is time that I tell others they should add this CD to their musical libraries. My students of voice coaching should pay close attention. There’s a self-deprecating sense of humor in some of the songs and definitely in the note that accompanied the CD:
“You’ll either head right over to your computer to order additional copies for friends, relatives and co-workers from LMLMusic.com or iTunes or you’ll turn to your cat and say, ‘yet another CD from D.C. – isn’t that nice’ and put it under his bowl to protect the linoleum.”
D.C. has a cottage industry with his recordings at www.dcanderson.net (not unlike my own little cottage industry of voice coaching in San Francisco). D.C. plans to conquer the world of recorded sound, friend by friend - and I plan to help him make that a reality.
Now, for some of my favorite songs on the collection (they’re all wonderful, these are just my favorites today as I write this). First there’s ‘I Am Still,’ which is such a beautiful poem, a short film of a piece. I should mention here that the music is by Steven Landau and it is quite good. Steven, another old friend, was Musical Director of the First National Tour of ‘Titanic,’ and Musical Director and Arranger for the critically acclaimed Deaf West Theater production of ‘Big River,’ which played at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, on Broadway at the American Airlines theater, and on international tour. Years ago, I was part of a singing duo, Corber and Quick, with Judy Corber, who is now the brilliantly talented up-and-coming jazz-singer-to-know, Judith Wexler (www.judywexler.com). Steven Landau was our orchestra at the keyboard. He was a great arranger for us, and a great man. I’m so happy that he’s writing these great songs with D.C. They’re great pairing, along with the other composers on this collection.
This is how intimate the CD is - one of the funniest bits is the false start to ‘Have Fun,’ it takes us right into the recording session with D.C. The song is pretty damned funny as well, and Elizabeth Doyle’s music gives it a very enjoyable Maltby/Shire feel. D.C. is so great at putting hilarity, joy and fun right into his voice. ‘Sad Man’ – an achingly tender song with music by Ron Zimmerman with lyrics so simple and moving. The music has an almost retro sixties feel, while it sometimes reminds me of Sondheim, sometimes of Bacharach and David, it always perfectly suits the lyrics. The man in this song is so fragile, so vulnerable. This is simply an elegant song, sung by a master musician. The intensely intimate guitar work at the top of ‘Hard This Goodbye’ sets up the lonely lyricism that follows. The piano joins D.C. and the guitar for an effective trio. There’s a driving force to this ballad… driven to the hard goodbye of the title. There are few rare gems like ‘The Visit’ in this world, and I am grateful to D.C. and Steven for putting this one in such a perfect setting. Oh, I could write something about each song. Let me just add that ‘Dear Mother’ is exquisite. The final song, ‘Fixed Up Heart’ with music by Steven Landau, is another fluid blending of lyrics, guitar, piano, singer and song. Listen to this CD to discover which songs are your favorites.
Okay, I have to comment on ‘Hello Nancy, Goodbye Ron.’ Nancy Reagan and Ronald Reagan… D.C. has captured honest feelings that many of us experienced in dealing with this iconic couple - the man who turned his back on the AIDS crisis, and the woman who fights for stem cell research and a cure for Alzheimer’s. When the people in this country are so divided (so the media tells us), it is comforting to experience art of this sort, that deals with the grey areas (or, since we are divided red from blue, should that be the violet area?)
This is a great CD. It does grow on you as D.C. says. I find that it is a wonderful CD to listen to on the iPod, as it gives it that same intimacy with which the CD was recorded. Buy the CD, tell your friends about the CD. Go see D.C. live on December 4th in Manhattan at the Metropolitan Room and, believe it or not, in Fargo North Dakota playing Buddy in ‘Follies: The Concert’ at North Dakota State in February of next year.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you’ll take the time to visit D.C.’s website and buy an album or two (the holidays are coming, and D.C.’s music makes for great gift giving).
Meanwhile, I continue my work as a voice coach in San Francisco while I continue to write about theatre and song, among other things, at my website http://www.performancecoachsf.com. Another project I’m now directing is an experimental first production of the new musical ‘Homeland,’ by Jay Kuo, performing at the Magic Theatre in mid-December. (We had great success with Jay’s first musical ‘Insignificant Others’ at The New Conservatory Theatre Center in San Francisco this summer). If you’re interested in voice coaching, acting lessons and such, drop by my website http://www.performancecoachsf.com and see what I have to offer.
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