This Weeks Beat: “Vocals”
Jeff Rossen, Gay Chicago Magazine – April 17-27, 1997
A self-described “ancient balladeer” McBroom once told me that she loves “telling stories” through her songs. Exploring affairs of the heart is the common thread through the songs McBroom writes and those of others she chooses to perform and record…love gone right, love gone wrong, a daughter’s memories of her parents. She takes listeners on a rhapsodic journey in “A Waiting Heart” (Gecko) an 11 song collection that is the finest work she’s produced to date.
Mixing her own creations with a few standards and some striking new works by other writers McBroom creates what’s best described as a musical scrapbook. It’s as if she’s curled herself up on a sofa with a photo album in her lap, and, as she turns the pages, each new image inspires a song. Past lovers, family, friends. Things to be grateful for, some to regret, loves to remember fondly or tearfully. “To remember what romance is, making love and taking chances,” as she writes in the poignant opener Dance.
McBroom recorded her ode to her father, film actor David Bruce, who was always a costar, never a star, Errol Flynn, on her “Live from Rainbow and Stars” album in 1995, but the version she includes here is more intensely personal and moving. A sultry take on Hoagy Carmichael’s Baltimore Oriole a joyous The Way You Look Tonight and a surprisingly optimistic My favorite Year are peppered between the new “finds” McBroom has either created or uncovered.
Lyricist Tom Snow provides the words to McBroom’s melodies on a pair of gorgeous love songs, Those Eyes and A Timeless Thing, while her solo works, Dance and When Love Grows Up, stand as two of the best things she’s ever written, a catalog of works she casually refers to as “my stuff”. Well, that “stuff” is the stuff that dreams are made of.
“A Waiting Heart” includes one of the more intriguing compositions I’ve heard in ages. Lori Liedarman and William Carpenter’s Girl writing a Letter, is an atmospheric and almost mystical, story of art and fascination. John Bucchino’s Grateful looks at all the things we often take for granted that make a life “truly blessed”, and that’s how I feel about “A Waiting Heart”…grateful for and truly blessed by Amanda McBroom’s musical artistry and gifts.