BWW Reviews: Singer Blake McIver Shows a New Side to his Talent at Don't Tell Mama
On Thursday January 16 Blake McIver showed a whole new side to his musical art when he premiered selections from his new CD at Don't Tell Mama in WeHo. Set for release in February, the CD is pop, R&B based and is a showcase for McIver's own compositions, many of which are quite poignant, some downright depressing, about his struggles in a journey to find his true self, but there is a ray of hope which permeates throughout with melodious strains of sheer ingenuous expression. What is sad doesn't necessarily come across that way, for much of the tempo is upbeat, big and riveting, like an evangelist at a revival meeting out to save your soul at the eleventh hour. You want to clap your hands, stand up and almost join in the celebration of newfound life.
A word about McIver's appearance. Talk about changing images from the ground up! Sporting a short buzz, Blake McIver looks every inch a sexy dude without all of that big hair he was carrying around for so long!
With incredible musical director Gregory Nabours on piano, Jimmy Hebenling on guitar, Joe Martone on drums, and Patrick Mc'Isaac on bass, McIver was also jointed in concert by three terrific backup singers: Dedrick Bonner, Don Castor and Euriamis LoSada. In one guest spot the three guys truly rocked the space with "All of Me Wants All of You".
McIver sprinkled in a couple of well-known little gems ... like Stevie Wonder's "Uptight, Everything's Alright", also Broadnax, Paul, Wonder's "Till You Come Back to Me" made so famous by Aretha Franklin, and especially a truly unusual but delicious arrangement of "Point of No Return" from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera ... to the mix of original material. Of the new stuff I particularly liked "Start to Believe" with a samba sound, the eleventh hour dramatic "Stand and Fight", his itunes' hit "It Gets Better" and as encore "Run to You".
I admire Blake McIver for his immense talent and simultaneously laud him for his extreme courage. Many child actors rest on their laurels, not he. He is trying to put that cute, little boy image from TV and movies behind him, and that may, sadly, include some of his theatre work, but it is for the best. Judging from audience reaction, young folk really like his sound, and it is bound to bring him a fresh kind of commercial success in the world of pop.
(photo credit: Stan Mazin)