By Marilyn Lester
Tony nominee, actress and singer, Melissa Errico has released two songs, “In honor of the strange, sad but still love-hungry spring of 2020 — which perches on the brink of an open but uncertain summer.” This sentiment is well said of two standards of the American Songbook, “Blackberry Winter” and “You Must Believe in Spring.” Recorded in quarantine, both numbers are haunting and wistful, yet have hope at their core. It’s Errico’s marvelous ability as a storyteller that puts that saving grace across with authority. “Blackberry Winter,” with music by Alec Wilder and lyric by Loonis McGlohon, tells the sad story of love that didn’t work out. The title is a colloquial expression in certain regions of the US and abroad that refers to a cold snap that can occur in late spring when the blackberries are in season––and the lyric certainly echoes the stinging pain of cold in a lost love through a beautiful, reflective melody. Errico almost speaks the lyric in some phrases, beautifully enunciating words as well as driving the progression of the story home with heightened meaning and emotion.
“You Must Believe in Spring” has music by Michel Legrand and new lyrics written for Errico by Alan and Marilyn Bergman. Errico delivers the number with the same emotional thrust, transcending the sadness with the notion that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s actually no small feat to convey that ray of brightness while singing a sad song. Her light, airy vocal tone (much like her speaking voice) carries with it much intelligence and the ability to infuse depth into her work. For phrasing and timing, Errico is nonpareil. Vocalists can take a page from her book––there’s no need to belt when it isn’t necessary. Drama is conveyed through the power of living the lyric––vocal pyrotechnics not needed or called for. On the piano, accompanying Errico is the matchless Tedd Firth, a piano virtuoso of the first order. His arrangements and style of playing perfectly support Errico’s singing, with a complexity that fills musical space so much so that there’s no need for other instrumentation.
For more of Melissa Errico and Michele Legrand, seek out Legrand Affair (Deluxe), released in November 2019. Errico shared a special relationship with the composer and after his death earlier in 2019 was the center of many tributes to him. Then, searching through her Legrand memorabilia, she came across recorded demos she had made of his songs, with Legrand himself on the piano, bassist David Finck and drummer Steve Gadd. These recordings became the basis of her 2011 album Legrand Affair. Errico also discovered living room recordings she’d made with Legrand, and so a reissue of the album with added material was produced. The two-disc CD contains the 15 original recordings with the Brussels Philharmonic, plus 12 new tracks, including unheard studio sketches, a new last collaboration (“I Haven’t Thought Of This In Quite A While”), a new guitar duo version of “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life?” and new recordings of “Hurry Home,” “Little Boy Lost” and “The Way He Makes Me Feel.” It’s available on most platforms where music is sold and/or streamed.
Two Spring Songs for Summer is available for purchase at Amazon, iTunes, Apple Music and for streaming and digital download on all platforms.
For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/TwoSpringSongs