D.C. Anderson: Sarasota

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D.C. Anderson


(LML Music)

April 25, 2020

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin

Sarasota, the title of D.C. Anderson’s new 15-track CD, may seem a bit of mystery since there is no number called “Sarasota,” The mystery fades when the title is revealed to be an allusion to where the recording was made. 

Anderson’s voice is soft—he has been called “a romantic balladeer”—but, as in his songs, there is an ironic hint of the sardonic in his singing. Even the cute pup on the cover of the CD seems to have a smirk clouding his doggy grin. This is not to say that Anderson’s interpretations are in any way dark—not at all. His pleasantly fuzzy, laid-back singing style is overall soothing with a sophisticated folksy color. He sings all but one of the songs on this CD.

Here’s a quick overview of my favorite tracks:

“You’re Lucky” (Claudia Anderson/D.C. Anderson), is a wistful love song in which Anderson shows traces of darkness in his voice. He addresses a lady who clearly has ignored him, admiring her for all her wonderful qualities. The conclusion: love is great only if you’re lucky at it.

Anderson’s take on the golden-oldie “Dream a Little Dream of Me” (Fabian Andre/Wilbur Schwandt/Gus Kahn) is reflective, inspired, no doubt, by the song’s title. It’s purposely unsophisticated and—well—dreamy.

Continuing the theme of subtle frustration is “Nothing of Us” (Andre Cafrini/Anderson). He remembers the good times but is philosophical about the eventual end of the love he felt. Cafrini’s melody has a bittersweet quality that matches Anderson’s lyrics.

He finally lets loose in a passionate interpretation of the semi-classic “But Beautiful” (Jimmy Van Heusen/Johnny Burke), which he turns into a passionate wail of barely hidden sadness.

To Elizabeth Doyle’s rippling melody, Anderson’s words to “Actor’s Prayer” reveal a performer’s nightmare of missing lines, woefully mishandling Sweeney Todd’s razor, or accidentally killing Romeo. There’s a delicate wit to the words, the sentiment of which are probably shared by all actors.

The oddest—and funniest—number on the Sarasota album is “Dean Crane,” a takeoff of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” with new lyrics by Anderson. Sung stylishly by Madalyn McHugh, this twist, though sung by a woman, is written from the point of view of a put-upon male. He vows angrily, “I’ll make her sorry ass my garden gnome!”

“The Moon Is Made of Gold” (Richard Loris Jones), the final track, is a lullaby full of temptingly colorful imagery; it’s as if Peter Pan were trying to convince Wendy Darling to join him on a fantastical journey. It’s a sweet way to end the album.

Anderson has written most of the expressive lyrics on the album but he outsourced the music, which is all pleasant but slightly forgettable. His lyrics show him to be a poet deeply but attractively confused about love. Whether this is D.C. Anderson’s story or not isn’t important. That he communicates these emotions so eloquently is.

Joel Benjamin

A native New Yorker, Joel was always fascinated by musical theater. Luckily, he was able to be a part of seven Broadway musicals before the age of 14, quitting to pursue a pre-med degree, which led no where except back to performing in the guise of directing a touring ballet troupe. Always interested in writing, he wrote a short play in high school that was actually performed, leading to a hiatus of nearly 40 years before he returned to writing as a reviewer. Writing for Cabaret Scenes has kept him in touch with world filled with brilliance.