Christina Saffran Ashford

Temporary Insanity

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One of the more troublesome problems facing contemporary singers is to come up with a play list that doesn't rely solely on entirely familiar standard or traditional pop material. More and more these performers are searching out less-familiar, but highly listenable material to shape a play list that is varied both in style and genre. Musical comedy, Broadway stage, and cabaret performer Christina Saffran Ashford has put together a musical agenda that, while discriminating, is not so just to be discriminating, but has substance as well. For her debut album, she has selected songs from a variety of sources running the gamut from show tunes through pop and even rock tunes, to a couple of well-known standards, with pieces by the team of David Lawrence and Faye Greenberg getting a good deal of attention. The album's kickoff tune, "Love on the Line," has hints of contemporary with a dash of rock thrown in. In contrast, there's a cute rendition of "Mama a Rainbow" from the musical Minnie's Boys where Ashford is joined by her two daughters, Grace and Emma, nine and four, respectively. Keeping it in the family, Ashford is joined by husband Matthew Ashford for a somewhat serious rendition of "Baby It's Cold Outside," certainly not like the classic hopeful (him), hesitant (her) Johnny Mercer/ Margaret Whiting version. Regardless of what she's singing, Ashford applies a highly personal touch to each tune with her clear-as-a-bell set of vocal chords. She is also adept, as are most good cabaret singers, at delivering the story of the lyrics in such a heartfelt way that the words linger in the air even after the track is finished. Temporary Insanity is a fine first effort by one more talented member of the cabaret community. Recommended.

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