BWW CD REVIEW: Audra McDonald Goes Classic in GO BACK HOME
Audra McDonald dropped GO BACK HOME, her first solo album in seven years, on May 21. The album, produced by Nonesuch records, brings McDonald to her roots, as it features classic songs by iconic songwriters like LaChiusa, Rodgers & Hammerstein, and Stephen Sondheim. McDonald has a personal connection to the tracks she chose. She told Nonsesuch of the songs featured on her album "If there were a Broadway show written about my life, especially the last seven years, this would be the soundtrack."
On Friday May 24, Audra had a telecast of her live performance of the album for PBS's Live From Lincoln Center. The special was titled Audra McDonald In Concert: Go Back Home and was the finale of the series. Way to end big.
There is no doubt why Lincoln Center would want to play host to an Audra McDonald concert. The woman is full of class and is as much of an icon as the respected venue.
GO BACK HOME is representative of what McDonald is best recognized for. As Broadway's current queen, McDonald presents herself with elegance and sophistication. Not to mention, she boasts a powerhouse voice. There is no tune the woman can't sing - she proved that when she sang to the tune of Alicia Keys and Jay Z's "Empire State of Mind" alongside Neil Patrick Harris at the Tony's this year. Her voice carries every beloved tune on the record with a grace that is characteristically Audra.
McDonald's voice is ethereal and is one of the most soothing sounds you will hear. Her hauntingly beautiful rendition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC's "Edelweiss" is telling of these capabilities. Not many people can sing a tune once sung by Julie Andrews and own it, and not only does she own it, but she raises goosebumps in doing so. Her acoustic version of "Edelweiss" is creative and unique, all while maintaining the purity and passion of the original.
Although most tracks on the record are classic Broadway tunes, "Married Life" is a jazzier track that will have your toes tapping and your head swaying. The instrumentals are stellar and McDonald proves no one can carry a soulful number quite like her.
When you think classic Broadway tune, you think of songs like "Glamorous Life." The track off this record has a dialogue and stacatto to it that just screams "show tune." "Glamorous Life" is representative of the whole album, as it is an iconic show tune written by Stephen Sondheim, one of Broadway's finest writers. After all, GO BACK HOME pays homage to some of Broadway's greatest writers and composers.
When you listen to McDonald it is like nothing else matters, because it's just you and her uplifting, powerful voice. Although her songs are slow and balladic, they still manage to exude some sort of contagious, hopeful energy. McDonald makes you want to dream big with "First You Dream," lifting you up and making you feel like you are at the top of the world.
GO BACK HOME will have fans of McDonald's rejoicing due to her return to solo music. Her voice is unique, strong, and has gained her well-deserved recognition in the theatre community. This album reminds us why McDonald is the queen of theatre.
To listen to what McDonald has to say about GO BACK HOME, watch below