Album Review: Some Troubadours Are Ladies & Vice Versa, As Carmen Cusack Shows Us On Her New Album LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME

A Lady Sings The Country Blues

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony Nomination

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony NominationHeigh Ho, dear lovely rainbow tribe, welcome back to Bobby's CD sandbox, where we offer our broken-down breakdowns of new music releases. So, strap in and get ready, as Bobby goes on the record ABOUT the record.

This week's album entry in the BobbyFiles comes from two-time Tony Award® Nominee Carmen Cusack, the leading lady of last season's lamentably overlooked FLYING OVER SUNSET, for which she received one of her two aforementioned Tony® noms. That show's early closing notwithstanding, a singer's gotta sing and, sometimes, even write songs, which is what CC has done with her new 8-Cut album LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME. When this review landed on Bobby's desk, Broadway World Cabaret Editor Stephen Mosher explained that, in an interview he conducted with the artist, Carmen told him that when she was young her family belonged to a faith-based organization that believed in the power to heal through the laying on of hands... hence this title. After listening to the journey the lady has laid out for us, Little Bobby can tell you that there is an energy, a healing if you will, that comes from CC's words, music, and voice. Taking cues from her gospel background and fusing it with country, rock, folk, and a little something extra that is all her own, LAY HANDS runs the gamut from traditional Country & Western I've-lost-my-man-blues to foot-stompin' hand-clappers that show her range in vocal abilities, as well as just her range. On the road as an actress, CC has played both Elphaba and Nellie Forbush, so, clearly, her vocal powers lend themselves to a variety of sounds and styles.

Speaking of styles, SHOW ME A MAN uses that aforementioned fusion perfectly. From the first notes in the soft but driving guitar line to the distant whistling, this first cut uses Carmen's voice in a very haunting way, melding a truly lovely arrangement with singing that comes from one of those "out of time" voices - modern, yet ancient, too. This is a voice that calls out to us, the listeners, as well as for a man inside of the lyric, to take up the path of "righteousness" in this woman's heart. The driving, insistent guitar rhythms create tension throughout the recording. This composition was wisely followed up by SHANE, a more blatantly country-and-western style piece that is a wild, young, free ode to Shane, the Cherokee boy about whom Cusack sings, that eventually shouts in what grows into a barn-stomping C&W rouser. Carmen's vocal calls and ohhhahhh cries are wonderful!

REBELLIOUS CHILD is a personal fave for this rainbow writer, reminding Little Bobby of his own religious background and Queer rebellion to it all. This one is clearly about Carmen, as the lyrics here, about laying on of hands to cast out the devil, recall the album's title, and perhaps its message. In the vocal chorus, we hear humming in the opening strains, making the song haunting at first, then the hand claps through to the guitar, where tension, again, is built. The clear religious overtones in lyrics about baptisms and speaking in tongues, and her singing about finding a god-fearing man, make this the most overtly "religious-sounding" song on the album, and WOW! what a voice. The vocal arrangements, with additional background voices, are stirring and a little unnerving.

WHEN THIS IS OVER is a shift in vocal production, again, this time with Carmen's voice morphing into a beautiful lilt, filled with emotions of joy and sorrow. Is she folk? Is she country? Nope, she's that fusion we keep talking about, and this cut shows its depth in this beautiful arrangement. Her "Hooty" vocaleses are just gorgeous - like a female troubadour... A trobairitz (what? Bobby can look up words!). CC's penultimate tune, I'LL NEVER GET OVER YOU, is a real stand-out, and a solid C&W "I got the love blues song." This is all classic country lyrics telling how "I can't GIT over you and I got it bad" and all that - a real wailing broken heart song that is back and forth - I love you but I need to leave you, but I need you, but you won't let me go, but if you do I'll die - kind of things.

Taking it one by one, Carmen Cusack's LAY YOUR HANDS ON ME songs are beautiful, uplifting, and soul-stirring, sometimes all of it at once. Taken as a work of art from start to finish, this album is a heartfelt pilgrimage of healing and moving forward, in a voice that carries one through misty mountains and Americana highways, and it's a trip we're glad we took because we give this lovely album a lovely...

5 Out Of 5 Rainbows - Put this one in your Spotifies stream today: Click Here

Follow Carmen's InstaPictograms: HERE

And Her Twitters: HERE

Ande Followe On Ye Olde FaceBooke: HERE

Read Stephen Mosher's Press Release: HERE

Video: Josh Groban Is Full of Joy Over His Tony Nomination


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Album Review: SHUCKED The Musical Releases Its Corny Cast Album & It's A Toe Tapper

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Album Review: SOME LIKE IT HOT & Indeed We Do. Hit Songs From A Hit Show Make A Hit OB Photo
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The score with just the few touches of dialogue included makes it very clear what is happening from start to finish and it delivers the show to the imagination so wonderfully.

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And then there is the performance of Victoria Clark. The subtle delicacy of this lady's work has elevated every show she has been in, whether musical or straight drama, and that work comes through loud and clear here.

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The band on the album is rockin’ and the mixer and master have kept every musical artist in their lane - nobody overshadows anyone else, they put the artist of the moment at the center mic and everyone emerges on equal beautiful footing.



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