Monday, November 16, 2009

Passage of Time, a new CD by Liz Callaway

I like to listen to Liz Callaway. She has an easy, comfortable voice that makes me feel I’m spending time with a friend. Her new CD, Passage of Time, offers songs that deal with various stages of life, some serious, some playful.

"Nothing to Lose (But Your Heart)" is by two of my favorite contemporary songwriters, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, who are currently represented on Broadway with Ragtime. This song, which I had never heard, sounds like the kind of support you’d give to a friend who’s just lost her boyfriend and is ready to give up on romance. Callaway sings of knowing that pain well, but encourages her friend to go on. “The world calls your name. I can see your breath on the window of life. Take my hand. I promise something new will start. You have nothing to lose but your heart.”

For two older songs, she does some nice pairing. I like "Make Someone Happy" with "Something Wonderful,” both sounding full of warmth and light.

And I was delighted to hear “Better.” I love this Edward Kleban song -- and so does Stephen Sondheim who put it on his list of songs he wishes he had written. I’ve never heard anyone record it; I listen to it on the cast recording of A Class Act, the musical about Kleban’s life. I used to put it on my answering machine and callers really liked it. It’s a cute song, and good to hear it here.

Another song I’ve always liked is Carly Simon’s “That’s the Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” which Callaway sings with her sister, Ann Hampton Callaway. A rich, exciting duet.

One song I could do without is John Lennon and Paul McCartney's "Eleanor Rigby." I know loneliness is a part of life, but this song, although beautifully and hauntingly sung, is depressing. I usually skip past that one.

The other selections are "I'm Not That Girl"/"Just Another Face," "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head"/"Singin' in the Rain," "Children Will Listen," "Patterns," "Secret O' Life," "The Perfect Year"/"Memory," "A Child Is Born" and "Being Alive."

Passage of Time, with music direction by Alex Rybeck, is produced by Tommy Krasker for PS Classics. It’s another good one to keep in mind for holiday shopping.

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