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BWW Album Review: Kyle Riabko's RICHARD RODGERS REIMAGINED Sparkles with Vibrant Life

BWW Album Review: Kyle Riabko's RICHARD RODGERS REIMAGINED Sparkles with Vibrant Life
Album art courtesy of Ghostlight Records.

Kyle Riabko's latest album, Richard Rodgers REIMAGINED, was inspired by a "fan letter" Rodgers had written to Burt Bacharach. No doubt, Riabko became privy to this letter while working on CLOSE TO YOU: BACHARACH REIMAGINED, a show Riabko garnered international acclaim for. Now, back in the United States, Ribako deftly explores another icon of American music, creatively reinterpreting Rodgers' classics through how own energetic pop/rock aesthetic.

The album opens with an ebullient, acoustic rendition of "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'." With the paired down instrumentation, Riabko's soft and enchanting vocals push the lyrics front and center, letting fans of these songs and newcomers alike to revel in the beauty of the poetry in the lyrics. A similar take is utilized on "Lady is a Tramp." However, this style is perhaps the most at home on "You'll Never Walk Alone" and "This Nearly Was Mine," where the lovely melodies truly sparkle with this kind of instrumentation and Riabko's voice deftly plumbs the depths of these song's emotional cores.

His spin on "My Favorite Things" rocks with sizzling synthesizer, snappy keys, riveting guitar, and driving percussion. With Riabko's sultry vocals layered on top, the tune is transformed into a pristine ballad that seems loosely inspired by the power ballad's of 80s hair bands. Similarly, Riabko adds late 80s/early 90s pop beats that fade into a 90s adult alternative interpretation to his rendition of "If I Loved You." This may sound like messy cacophony, but the end product is inspired, evocative, and delightful.

Soft maracas make listener's hips sway on "Where or When" and "My Funny Valentine." While "Where or When" conjures up the feelings of seasalt in the air and the slowly fading embers of a bonfire on a softly moonlit beach, "My Funny Valentine" feels much more like an adult contemporary jam from the mid to late 90s. Then, for "Some Enchanted Evening" Riabko cleverly works in ukulele and softly played piano for his accompaniment, giving listeners a subtle nod to the setting of the original show the song hails from. He closes the album with bluesy electric guitar riffs on "Blue Moon."

These jovial takes on each of these classic songs gives them all fresh and vibrant life. Each song is truly reinvented and reshaped for this album, allowing listeners to rehear the timeless treasures in new settings. They also showcase Riabko's creativity, especially since he is responsible for all the instrumentation on the album. Riabko artistically blows the metaphorical dust off each and every song, and skillfully adds a new layer of luster and polish to each of these tunes.

Kyle Riabko's Richard Rodgers REIMAGINED was released by Ghostlight Records. It can be purchased from their webstore, iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold. For more information and upcoming concert dates, please visit http://www.kyleriabko.com.


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