CD: Anna Cheek’s “Water Over the Bridge”

Anna Cheek: Water Over The Bridge

(Chestnut Records, 2009):

Singer-songwriter Anna Cheek wrapped up her latest album more than a year ago, but she’s been battling a lengthy illness in the meantime, so “Water Over the Bridge” is just now finally getting its long overdue release.

It’s well worth the wait.

Woodstock area resident Cheek possesses a captivating voice that’s been compared to everyone from Grace Slick to Eartha Kitt, from Joni Mitchell to Imogen Heap, from Rickie Lee Jones to Marianne Faithfull. Which is, of course, a testament to the truly unique quality of her voice. She doesn’t really sound like any of those artists… or anyone else. And try though music writers might, the comparisons ultimately don’t get to the heart of the matter. Or the music.

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And her voice isn’t her only strong suit, either. She’s a classically trained pianist, who brings a command of dynamics and an uncommon sense of intimacy to her playing. And she’s a magnificent songwriter, too, and with this collection of 10 original songs, she’s created moody, atmospheric music that is bolstered by memorable pop hooks.

And she’s surrounded herself with a team of ace musicians. Produced by Robert Frazza, the album features contributions by guitarists Mike DeMicco and Jim Weider, cellist Jane Scarpantoni, drummer Jerry Marotta and pedal steel guitarist Kevin Maul, who sparkles on the haunting ballad, “Faith.”

This is a gem of an album.

Anna Cheek and her band – which includes the members of the Todd Nelson Trio and percussionist Bob Resnick, as well as backing vocalists Julia Nichols, Joanna Palladino and Bill Ross – celebrate the release of “Water Over the Bridge” with a performance at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock at 7:30pm on Sunday. The Todd Nelson Trio opens the show with selections from their debut album, “Here.” Admission is $10.

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