Posts Tagged ‘Broadway Musical’

DeDeWedekind is a singer-songwriter that finds her sound from influences such as Tori Amos, Celine Dion and even Amy Grant. She has a large amount of spirituality within the lyrics of her songs just like Grant while still having enough of a pop-like sound in her music. In fact, since DeDe’s music is both pop-based and spiritual at the same time, she can easily be considered a “crossover” artist. That “crossover” sound can be found on DeDe’s current five-song release called Love and Fairy Tales.

Love and Fairy Tales from DeDe begins with the track “Blame It on the Summertime”. On this track, the beauty in DeDe’s voice helps to bring the emotional words to life. “Blame It on the Summertime” is the definitive “pop” song as the track has a very accessible feel to the music and would easily fit in with other songs that would be found on Adult Contemporary radio stations. While the song contains a rather strong emotional pull to it, the instrumentation is very strong itself and helps to create a track that is beautiful and energetic. The crossover appeal of the track makes it one of the best songs on the new release from DeDe and makes for a very strong start to the release.

The new release from DeDe continues with “The Fairy Tale Song”. The track has the same type of pop-rock feel to it as the previous track. However, while the lyrics of “Blame it on the Summertime” contain a lot of emotion, the lyrics of this track contain a lot more fun to them. The lyrics of the song refer to several of the fairy tales that we have all grown up on. The way the lyrics were written for this track, the listener ends up being able to sing along with the song with little effort. When taken together, the lyrics and the easy feel of the music create a track that is fun to listen to and would be a nice addition to any Adult Contemporary radio format.

On the track “The Plans I Have for You,” the feel of the lyrics take on a much more spiritual feel than the first two tracks of the release.  DeDe seems to channel artists like the aforementioned Amy Grant on this track as she creates a song with the same lyrical feel as many Christian hymns created by the most popular artists in that genre. “The Plans I Have for You” takes the music of DeDe into a more serious direction but it also adds a lot of beauty to the Love and Fairy Tales release as the track contains a much stronger orchestral feel than the previous tracks as the strings featured on the song give the song a lot of body. The song allows the listener to see the writing ability of DeDe and the song proves that she can create a serious track when she wants to.

Just as “The Plans I Have for You” proves that DeDe can create a serious track, the next song from DeDe of “Just Desserts” allows the listener to experience the less serious side of DeDe as she takes Love and Fairy Tales in a more lighthearted direction. Taking the music in a Classic Country vein, “Just Desserts” feels like a track that would have been written over twenty years ago, back in a time when people used to add a bit of humor in the songs they wrote. The wordplay contained within the lyrics of this song about an ex-lover will definitely bring a smile to your lips as you enjoy the scene that plays out during the song.

Love and Fairy Tales from DeDe comes to an end with the track “We’ll Never Part”. As the rest of the release allows the listener to experience the writing ability of DeDe, the track of “We’ll Never Part” is the song that most definitely shows off the vocal ability of the musician. The track feels like something that could have come from a Broadway musical and the way DeDe sings the song, she seems like she would easily find a place alongside the best performers on Broadway.

When you listen to Love and Fairy Tales from DeDe, you get a brief glimpse into many different aspects of the personality of DeDeWedekind. No matter what song you listen to on the release, you will find something that will grab you. The well-rounded release does wonders to bring out the talent of this talented up-and-coming artist.

Reviewer: Matheson Kamin
Rating: ***** (five stars)

Click HERE for the video to “The Fairy Tale Song” by DeDe.

ImageThe Midtown Men is a band that used to be the ensemble featured in the Broadway Smash The Jersey Boys. The band consists of Tony-Award winner Christian Hoff, Michael Longoria, Daniel Reichard and Tony-Award nominee J. Robert Spencer. Having made a large impression during their time on stage in The Jersey Boys, the four performers decided to reunite and keep the magic going. As a result, The Midtown Men have created an album of cover songs that came from the same era as the Four Seasons. The newly released album by The Midtown Men is entitled Sixties Hits.

The album begins with a track featuring two of the biggest and most associated songs of The Four Seasons, “Let’s Hang On/Working My Way”. Known for his role as Frankie Valli in The Jersey Boys, Michael Longoria does a wonderful job capturing Valli’s voice, and this track really makes that point. As they are cover versions of these hit singles, “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back to You” had to feel just as authentic as the originals and the vocals of Longoria have you imagining the original songs right from the beginning of the tracks.

Since this is an album of covers from more than just The Four Seasons, the quartet of Longoria, Hoff, Reichard, and Spencer prove that they tried to stay loyal to the original songs while adding their own spin to them. A perfect example of that idea appears on the song “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Although staying pretty close to The Beatles’ arrangement of that band’s song, the version by The Midtown Men comes with a little surprise as a horn section appears to give the song added depth. While major fans of The Fabulous Four may resent the band’s songs being messed with, the arrangement of this song should actually have Beatles fans applauding the new version.

Along with the horn addition, the song “Happy Together” from The Turtles finds The Midtown Men giving the song a slightly different treatment than the original version: While the music itself stays close to what was originally written, it is the vocals that have changed slightly. The new vocal arrangement to the song breathes new life into the song without going overboard.

The Midtown Men return to their “roots” once more as they perform The Four Seasons’ hit “Dawn”.  Like the earlier Four Seasons songs “Let’s Hang On” and “Working My Way Back to You,” the group stays as close to the original as possible. It is this authentic feel to the songs the band is covering that made The Jersey Boys such a smash hit when it was on Broadway.

Falling into line with a long list of artists that have created a cover of the song “California Dreamin’” from The Mamas and The Papas, The Midtown Men took a slightly different take on the song. While they didn’t change the arrangement of the original version of the tune written by John Phillips and Michele Gilliam, the performance by the band has a slightly more folk-like sound than the original. And since there are many others who came before to create different arrangements to the song, this new version fits right in.

The Midtown Men’s album Sixties Hits finishes with two more songs from The Four Seasons: “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Bye Bye Baby”.

If there was one song on this release that wasn’t really true to the original single, it would have to be “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. The arrangement of the song strays just a little too far from the version by The Four Seasons. Anyone familiar with the original tune may find themselves preferring the original and simply skipping over this track.

For the song “Bye Bye Baby,’ The Midtown Men return to a sound that is closer to their predecessors: With an arrangement and sound that will surely make fans of The Four Seasons happy, “Bye Bye Baby” brings this new release of covers from The Four Seasons and several others to a perfect close.

While starting out simply as a group of actors playing famous musicians on stage, The Midtown Men definitely prove they deserved all of the accolades they received while on Broadway as that group. This album of “Oldies” from this talented quartet will give the older music fans something to enjoy, and the younger crowd will find this album the perfect introduction to the older music.