Elizabeth Withers - No Regrets (Advance Review)

Elizabeth Withers
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Elisabeth Withers landed the role of Shug Avery in the stage version of "A Color Purple," and listeners who haven't seen the show but want to hear what made Withers ideal as a theatrical performer should listen to her duet with Gordon Chambers on the song "Bittersweet." The cut appears on Withers new album No Regrets. From the harps that introduce the song to the giant buildup to the ending crescendo, the song and Withers' performance create a dramatic and theatrical story of two old lovers who missed their chances to tell each other how they feel after a chance meeting on the street. Withers' vocals display the qualities that all theatrical singers must have - they are expressive and emotional, while her diction is as clear as a jazz singer.

Elisabeth Withers landed the role of Shug Avery in the stage version of "A Color Purple," and listeners who haven't seen the show but want to hear what made Withers ideal as a theatrical performer should listen to her duet with Gordon Chambers on the song "Bittersweet." The cut appears on Withers new album No Regrets. From the harps that introduce the song to the giant buildup to the ending crescendo, the song and Withers' performance create a dramatic and theatrical story of two old lovers who missed their chances to tell each other how they feel after a chance meeting on the street. Withers' vocals display the qualities that all theatrical singers must have - they are expressive and emotional, while her diction is as clear as a jazz singer.

One thing that can short circuit the pop star dreams of many actors who sing Broadway style numbers on the stage is that they can't make the transition from theatrical singing to pop singing. Pop singing can have some theatrical elements, as Withers' performance on "Bittersweet" shows. However, pop singers often employ more informal and conversational styles of singing, and No Regrets - similer to Withers' 2007 album It Can Happen To Anyone - shows that Withers excels in those styles as well.

The fact of the matter is that Withers is an adult singer at a time when radio often wants female vocalists to sound like 16-year old girls. Being an adult singer means that Withers has a comfort level in singing at a variety of tempos and she also has the life experience to sing anthems like the title track and "Everything is Going to Be Alright," the album's final song. On the soulful title track, Withers sings about facing the fears and challenges that come with deciding to leave the comforts of the familiar.

No Regrets reveals that Withers is not a performer who thinks twice about pushing the limits of R&B. The album features the soul rock jam "Why Can't I Love You," a song in which Withers puts a interpersonal spin on that oft stated comment that if we can put a man on the moon, why can't we do this. "Rock And The Raincloud," is an up-tempo blues track while  "Be My Superman" is a gutbucket blues/funk torch song.  "Be My Superman" is Withers at her best - a ballad singer who knows what she wants from a relationship and is not afraid to state it.

Withers' second album has the kind of quality music on it that should allow her to break through a crowded look alike and sound alike music world to receive recognition.  In many ways Withers is a throwback both in her music and in her mannerisms. She has more in common with classic soul artists such as Gladys Knight than with her contemporaries. Withers has style, and she lets her voice and the quality of her music do the talking. No Regrets will describe the feelings of anyone fortunate enough to purchase this album. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Choice Cut - Gary Palmer - "Let's Ride"
Song of the Month - Acantha Lang - "Lois Lang"
Album of the Month - Will Downing - "The Song Garden"
Choice Cut - Will Preston - "Never Knew Love"

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