Sunday, January 10, 2016

Shoshana Bean-O'Farrell Street (2013)

ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: January 10 , 2016

Silver bells are jingling again! That is because some of that 'silver lining' from that Lucy Iris album I listened to yesterday can be found while taking a stroll down "O'Farrell Street", the classy gem of an album recorded by a lovely lady named Shoshana Bean. Recommended and requested to me by the same friend whose interest in Broadway and musicals had gotten me hooked onto all things Linda Eder as well as the soundtracks to a wide range of theater productions, Shoshana has enjoyed a prosperous Broadway career of her own, recognized for her stage role in the musical called "Wicked". Well, in the spirit of the title to a recent album I featured by Australian singer Cheyne Coates, I would have to say something 'wicked' has come my way again—that being Shoshana's tantalizing, dynamic voice! From the moment I jammed to the funky, throwback girl group pop sounds of the lively opener, "Cold Turkey", I knew that I'd found myself a home on "O'Farrell Street". Such a good time I had with this spunky piece, where she sings about quitting a man and getting rid of her addiction to him altogether. Love that screechy 'Hey!' she shouts before the midway break, then when she chimes in later with the cheeky 'let me see ya do the turkey dance'. It's that spunky style of hers, in fact, that I love the most about Shoshana, which is why I was equally dazzled by her other uptempo numbers: "Runnin' Out Of Days", "Quittin' Time" (a great place to hear her shining with her vocals rising above the acoustic beat) and especially "Broken Even", whose stellar, funky throwback pop production reminds me of a similar classy arrangement that attracted me to the Mayer Hawthorne hit, "The Walk". There's actually many more marvelous production moments all up and down "O'Farrell Street"—from the light acoustic accompaniment making "5 Minutes" an intimate delight, the sensually jazzy groove melting into you on "Gin And Cigarettes" and the flowing serenity of the orchestral backdrop on "Water" (great lyrics on this one, Shoshana using the characteristics of water as metaphors to describe the love between the one whom she sings about) to the hymnal, almost spiritual nature of "I Am Not Unchanged" and the bluesy sway of "Smoke And Mirrors and "Blood From A Stone". For me, I enjoyed the greatest moments on "I Am Not Unchanged" and "Blood From A Stone". Both of these divine , powerful selections show the Broadway singer pouring out her heart in an up-close-and-personal, tell-it-like-it-truly-is-even-though-it-really-hurts manner. 'A spoonful of your own medicine won't make it any easier' and 'trying to get love from you is trying to get blood from a stone'—two of my favorite lines from the latter that had struck a chord with me. As for the former, that reference I made to 'silver lining' is found right here on this one, as Shoshana sings that exact phrase partway through the song.....and powerfully at that, as her vocals soar off the radar from that point forward! So forget taking that evening stroll down easy street; "O'Farrell Street" is the right road you should be taking tonight:

1. Cold Turkey
2. Smoke And Mirrors
3. 5 Minutes
4. Broken Even
5. Gin And Cigarettes
6. Blood From A Stone
7. Runnin' Out Of Days
8. I Am Not Unchanged
9. Quittin' Time
10. Water

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