American Song Cycle: A Double Bill

American Song CycleTwo halves of curious whole, American Song Cycle showcases two works: December Songs by Maury Yeston, and Songs From An Unmade Bed by Mark Campbell.

Those titles – December Songs, Songs From An Unmade Bed – suggests solitude and endings. To be sure, many of these numbers speak to a yearning on the part of the person singing for someone who is no longer there. Even the songs that are more “slice of life” like Book Seller in the Rain come with an inbuilt melancholy as the person observing a book display getting wet from the rain has no one to share that experience with.

Lisa-Marie Parker’s voice is a nice contrast to John O’Hara’s charismatic croon, although admittedly her near-operatic voice didn’t always make for a comfortable fit with the material. What did work, however, was that that the music never sat back behind the vocals or the lyrics. There was no ego in play, rather a series of pieces that sounded fully realised and inhabited by Lisa-Marie and John.

Their stage felt more like the sonic equivalent of an art gallery, instead of a concert space. The staged start/stop nature of the performances made proceedings more a matter of admiration than emotional engagement. Rest assured, there was more than enough to admire here.

American Song Cycle: A Double Bill
Chapel Off Chapel, 12 Little Chapel Street, Prahran
Performance: Sunday 19 November 2017 – 5.00pm

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Image: Lisa-Marie Parker, Geoffrey Castles and John O’Hara – photo by Chris Parker

Review: David Collins