Brian Lane Green

.. Brian Lane Green made his Broadway debut as Huck Finn in Big River, was Tony nominated for his performance in Starmites and, in 1998, starred as Jo Jo in Cy Coleman and Ira Gasman’s The Life. He is also a member of vocal group The Tonics and appeared with them at Carnegie Hall in the PBS special Sondheim: A Celebration.

Green has a strong, well controlled pop voice with a gentle vibrato and sings with a level intensity relatively unusual amongst male singers of classic pop and cabaret material. His debut album brings together a thoughtfully chosen collection of standards old and new, and material by the cream of contemporary writers including John Bucchino (who also produces), Craig Carnelia and Amanda McBroom. His flexible tenor is not as big and his style not as direct as – say – David Campbell‘s but his impassioned readings of love songs are most affecting and he possesses the good taste and

musicianship sometimes lacking in performers who enjoy edging a lyric towards its emotional limits. His voice is not unlike that of Sam Harris but, while pouring his emotions into every selection in similar style, he never hints at the sense of self parody that sometimes mars the latter’s work.

Green’s approach works best on the contemporary material. He delivers the melodies of McBroom’s Breathing and Carnelia’s Flight almost as though he is making them up as he sings them and has a similar gift for presenting a lyric as though it comes from within. This is particularly effective on material as familiar as Roy Orbison’s Crying or the Hollies’ He Ain’t Heavy – a song so over recorded that one generally shudders at its inclusion on any album. Green concentrates on the tenderness at the heart of the lyric and avoids the bombast that the soaring melody has tempted out of many another performer. He has also managed to find some unfamiliar material of real quality – songs such as That’s The Way I Feel About You and I’ll Find A Way would grace any pop album.

If there is a fault with this recording it is that all of its selections are taken at a similar, slow pace. However, lovers of modern pop balladry will be more than happy with this collection of attractive songs impeccably sung.

The lustrous piano accompaniments of John Boswell and the ubiquitous Bucchino delight almost as much as the characterful and unusual voice of the singer.

– Mark Jennett

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