Friday, May 23, 2014

Spring Is Here (Music Review: Celia Berk, You Can't Rush Spring)

I can't remember the last time I heard an album and told myself, "Wow. This is exquisite." That was exactly my thought when I listened to Celia Berk's "You Can't Rush Spring."  I know it's only May, but this album would be hard to beat as my favorite album of the year. Berk's lush alto could sat times be a voice you may pass by, but she has intelligent interpretive choices, and her elegant song selection makes this album memorable.  Ann Hampton Callaway's "You Can't Rush Spring" is a song I will listen to till the day I die, and at first I resisted Berk's lilting, swing version here, until i read her liner notes and got that she was trying to convey a "glass half full"  interpretation.  Actually, her positive attitude permeates through out her album: she pushes the calm fulfillment of "Rain Sometimes," (for another great version of this, check out Pinky Winters' version) and you really feel the eternal gratitude in "I'm Glad There Is You."  Another standout for me is "I've Been Waiting All My Life," From the musical Ballroom, and Judy Garland's "Friendly Star," which in here has never sounded more modern. As a matter of fact, I can't think of a bad track in here, and it's so cohesive and rounded that each song fits where it should be, not a note out of place. Alex Rybeck's arrangements give all the song a sheen that enhances their polish. I have played the album now three times, and each time I hear a song, I still discover something new.  This record is like  a springtime that blossomed just in time.

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