Monday, January 19, 2015

Music Review: Coming Home by Kristin Chenoweth

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Wonderful songs, amazing arrangements, awesome vocals
Cons: Maybe one or two very small issues, but nothing major
The Bottom Line:
Concert recording
Kristin’s amazing vocals
Goose bumps guaranteed

Kristin Chenoweth is Coming Home Triumphantly

I’ve been a fan of Kristin Chenoweth since I heard her in the soundtrack to the revival of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  I even went to see her on concert many years ago.  Every time she releases a new CD, I buy it, and love it, and Coming Home is no exception.

This CD is a recording of a concert she did in her old home town of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.  It was produced and recorded for PBS, and I must admit I am kicking myself for not having seen the special – at least not yet.  There are a few times she brings someone up to sing with her, and I feel like I should know who they are and I don’t.  But that is my only complaint at the disc.  And, honestly, I don’t need to know who they are to enjoy the great music.

And there is plenty of great music on here.  We get plenty of Broadway tunes from “I Could Have Danced All Night” to “Bring Him Home” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again.”  Yes, she does the two biggest songs from Wicked, although she does “Popular” is several languages along the way.  As the only person on the planet who doesn’t have the song memorized, I was slightly annoyed the first time through.  However, by the end, she’d won me over, and it really is a lot of fun.  Don’t worry, she still does sing it plenty of times in English.  She brings up someone from the audience for the duet that is “For Good.”  Axyl sounds a bit nervous when she first starts to sing, but trust me, she more than holds her own when singing with Kristin.  Anyway, she covers a couple country and Christian songs as well as some older works; all these songs are amazing and feel contemporary.

What long time fans won’t find are lots of songs they’ve already heard her sing.  Yes, we get the two songs from Wicked.  By my count, there are three other tracks that have been on her other CD’s.  The rest are new, at least new with Kristin singing them.  That’s a pretty good track record, and it makes the disc well worth buying for the die hard fans.

There are only a couple of songs where Kristin doesn’t do something by way of introduction before she starts to sing.  And in all of those cases, these bits are kept short and entertaining.  The result will hold up to repeated listens unlike some live albums I have that feature sections that are fun live and listening to once but don’t hold up well the more times you listen to them.

Kristin is backed up by a wonderful orchestra, and those musicians truly deliver.  The arrangements are world class, showing off her wonderful voice.  There are times I am listening to the disc and I get goose bumps.  Yes, it’s that amazing.
And that includes her old high school choir.  She has the current students in the Broken Arrow High School choir join her on a couple of songs, and they are outstanding.  In fact, they contribute the backing vocals to what is now my favorite version of “Upon This Rock,” and I have three, including Sandi Patty’s original version and Kristin’s first cover.  This is the best by far.

When I went to buy this disc, I bought the Target exclusive version, which includes three additional tracks.  Up first in the encore, then come two songs cut from elsewhere in the concert (not that you’d know it by how the disc is edited together).  These bonus tracks do include a version of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” which adds to the previous recorded songs of Kristin’s included here, but with a total of 18 tracks, there is plenty of new material.

And that material will thrill Kristin’s long term fans and bring her a legion of new fans.  Coming Home is an invitation to a great concert that everyone will enjoy.

(Target Exclusive) CD Length: 78:05
1. I Could Have Danced All Night
2. Maybe This Time
3. My Coloring Book
4. Bring Him Home
5. Fathers and Daughters
6. Hard Times Come Again No More
7. Upon This Rock
8. Over the Rainbow
9. Popular
10. For Good
11. Little Sparrow
12. Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
13. All the Things You Are
14. No More Tears (Enough is Enough)
15. I Was Here
Target Bonus Tracks:
16. I Will Always Love You
17. Heart of the Matter
18. I’ll Be Home for Christmas

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