Anya Turner & Robert Grusecki: Dream On

| January 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

Anya Turner & Robert Grusecki

Dream On

January 7, 2018

Reviewed by Bart Greenberg for Cabaret Scenes

The delightful husband-and-wife team of Robert Grusecki and Anya Turner offer up their sixth studio recording of material they both wrote and perform themselves. Dream On is a collection of songs written between 2014 and 2017, dealing with such topics as gender identity, body image, faith, and social customs, all with sensitivity and freshness. Although the CD itself contains no information about the songs, the listener is directed to the couple’s website where information about the source of each is explained. The diverse background of the material is surprising, given how well they flow together on the album. Although hardly necessary– given the flawless enunciation of both performers — all of the lyrics are also available on line.

The center of the album is a five-number song cycle inspired by Turner’s college education, deep in Texas, on the value of listening to words. In these works, the couple’s sly sense of humor and social satire is very strong. On parents naming children today (“The Name Song”), they observe:

“Their motive, though tender
Did often cause them to render
A name without gender.
Utterly neutral are we.”

But their comments are always leavened with compassion, such as in “Sister Andrea,” the tale of a religious figure whose obsessiveness leads to a nervous breakdown and the storyteller’s loss of faith, told with a mix of sensitivity and regret.

The most touching of the songs is “Perfect,” a very personal observation on their marriage:

“Oh, what a trip,
Joined at the hip.
No need to stage an intervention.
Our imperfections seem to be
Perfect for you and me.”

It could be seen as a far more intimate version of Stephen Sondheim’s “Sorry/Grateful.”

The title number provides a sweet and positive conclusion to this album. Throughout, Turner uses her powerful and flexible voice to convey their songs, while Grusecki provides wonderful support both vocally and at the piano.

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Category: Music, Music Reviews, New York City, New York City Music Reviews, Regional

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