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CD Reviews


Reviews for LUCKY TO BE ME

"...Dow proves he can turn a song into an emotion-filled story and give it real personality..." 

Jon Kaplan, NOW

“I'm used to hearing ... these (songs) done bursting with ebullience, but awestruck is an important element, too, and the man has that down pat.  He can sound vulnerable, which some men are not willing to do.”

ROB LESTER, Talkin' Broadway

Dow displays a wide range of pitch, tone, and style in Lucky To Be Me

"(Recorded in 2005, with all arrangements by Rick Fox, Musical Director at the Stratford Festival). The musical corps is expanded to include Hammond organ, guitars, acoustic bass, fretless bass, drums, and percussion in addition to Fox’s piano, resulting in a thicker texture for the songs, though there still isn’t enough texture for “Guys and Dolls (Frank Loesser) that needs, I think, a male chorus to give it amplitude or a raucous celebratory quality. Dow’s versatility runs the gamut from the high finish after a moderate jaggedness in “I’m A Stranger Here Myself” (Kurt Weill-Ogden Nash) to the elegant waltz rhythm of “Dancing” from Hello Dolly! where his tenor modulates to a counter-tenor for the dizzy release. Then there’s the blues quality in “Something Cool,” the crispness in “New Words,” and the free, expansive release in “Lucky To Be Me.” For my taste, one of the best numbers is “My Foolish Heart,” Victor Young’s poignant ballad whose eloquent lyric reminds us that lyricists don’t seem to compose as poetically as they used to. To listen to lines such as “There’s a line between love and fascination/They both give the very same sensation/When you’re lost in the magic of a kiss” is to experience the bliss of a marvelous conjoining of melody and lyric. And Dow reincarnates this bliss. His final number is a bold showstopper out of Guys and Dolls, where he brought Damon Runyon’s Nicely-Nicely Johnson to vivid, colourful life at Stratford, giving the show its strongest contact with Runyon and hitting the rafters with “Sit Down, You’re Rockin’ the Boat.” This is the number that showed just how good this performer could be in a Broadway musical, and it’s delightful to have it recorded here by a singer who appreciates the value of a lyric without losing the melody."                                                 

Keith Garabian, Stageandpage.com

“Of course, the talented star of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival is not keeping out of mischief and that's why we love him. This is a perfect twilight album, full of lost loves and missed romances, but somehow Dow lets you know there'll be another chance for you somewhere. His work on "The Ballad of the Sad Young Men" is so fine you'll hold your breath.”

Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star

"As a stage performer, Bruce Dow is an accomplished clown and an actor who can do satire. His musical roles at the Stratford Festival in such shows as Guys and Dolls, South Pacific, Into The Woods, Cabaret, and (for an unfortunately short time) A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Forumhave won him many fans. He has an amiable personality, fine sense of rhythm, good modulation and timing, and can sell a tune the way it must be sold in a show. But Dow is a singer in his own right, as the two CDs here reveal, and he is eminently tender, romantic, poignant, wistful, exuberant, or ecstatic whenever his lyrics call for such emotions.

Keepin’ Out of Mischief(recorded in 2008, the title out of “Fats” Waller) shows us the gentler side of Dow. Many of the numbers are from Broadway musicals, beginning with “Drift Away” of Grey Gardens that almost evokes a whispering breeze under his tenor that slowly mimes the song’s title, wafting away in an ever-declining sound. “Stay With Me” favours his tenor pitch as he extends its syllables, and this type of gentleness continues with “Lazy Afternoon,” though it becomes bitter-sweet in “The End of a Love Affair,” Edward Redding’s marvelous expression of the way in which a stricken heart can create a maddening illusion as a substitute for a lost love. Dow’s rendition of “A Quiet Thing” (a Kander and Ebb gem from Flora the Red Menace) has no vocal fireworks (“I don’t hear the drums and I don’t hear the band”) as happiness comes to the singer on tiptoe. Melancholy becomes the dominant mood of this CD, especially with “The Ballad of the Sad Young Men” by Tommy Wolf and Frances Landesman and “I Don’t Care Much” by Kander and Ebb, a song that Harold Prince cut from the first Broadway version of Cabaret and then reinserted for the 1987 revival and later used in a radically different way by Sam Mendes in his spectacular re-imagining of the show in 1998. Originally meant to be for Sally Bowles, the mediocre would-be nightclub star, the ballad hits high notes and escapes the camp quality it came to acquire in the Mendes stage version. One of the undeniable merits of Dow’s voice is its clarity, even when it sounds torchy as in “Mean To Me.” Accompanied by Marilyn Dallman on the piano, and in arrangements by Dow himself, it lets us hear and relish every lyric as clearly as the day that lyric was first formed in the composer’s head."

Keith Garabian, Stageandpage.com

© Bruce Dow 2014