Fortified by an army of musicians and arrangers and a platoon of backup singers, Lisa Richard represents a new breed of singers. Combining adult contemporary with cabaret, this young, up-and-coming vocalist works her way through a play list of tunes composed by various writers -- some well known, such as New York musical stage and cabaret writers Stephen Schwartz and John Bucchino, others perhaps not as renowned. Whether she affects a little-girl-lost stance on such tunes as "The Forgotten of the Heart," or the closer to the traditional, storytelling mode of cabaret with "Never Have I" and a refreshingly upbeat "You Make Me Laugh," each delivery is done with a fervent feeling designed to relate to hopes, problems, and other vicissitudes modern men and women must cope with. Richard has a very flexible set of vocal chords. She can be powerful on such tunes as "A Sorta Love Song" and gentle for the wispy material. Among the fine players in the band are Wayne Bergeron, Andy Martin, Tom Ranier, and Grant Geissman. Bergeron contributes a flugelhorn solo on "Antigua" and Geissman's guitar graces "The Forgotten of the Heart." Susan Egan shows up to duet with Richard on "Don't Be Shakin' Your Faith in Me." The variety of the tunes and how they are delivered represent a trend among younger singers. Unwilling to be pigeonholed in a particular category, they offer a smorgasbord of music, all of it with modern motifs, in order to get the attention of as large an audience as possible. Lisa Richard is clearly among the vanguard of those who are redefining cabaret/pop. Several photos of Richard grace the liner notes, but none of them with a smile. Another sign of the times, perhaps.
Virgin Tracks Review
by Dave Nathan
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