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Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Aaron Latham
There are thousands of songs from the '30s, '40s, and '50s that are considered popular standards and Michael Feinstein has covered a good portion of them throughout his extensive career. On occasion, a more modern composition would slink its way into his repertoire, such as a tune by the prolific songwriter Jimmy Webb, whose numerous hits include "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park." Eschewing traditional pop standards, Feinstein has collaborated with Webb to record his first full album of modern pop songs, Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb. While mainly focusing on Webb's lesser-known gems, along with a few previously unrecorded songs, Feinstein hones his ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Aaron Latham
There are thousands of songs from the '30s, '40s, and '50s that are considered popular standards and Michael Feinstein has covered a good portion of them throughout his extensive career. On occasion, a more modern composition would slink its way into his repertoire, such as a tune by the prolific songwriter Jimmy Webb, whose numerous hits include "Wichita Lineman" and "MacArthur Park." Eschewing traditional pop standards, Feinstein has collaborated with Webb to record his first full album of modern pop songs, Only One Life: The Songs of Jimmy Webb. While mainly focusing on Webb's lesser-known gems, along with a few previously unrecorded songs, Feinstein hones his cabaret-style of performance into a hushed subtlety that ultimately benefits him as well as these impeccably crafted songs. Feinstein has always been one of the most romantic vocalists of the genre, able to express lyrical meanings without overly emoting, and that serves this song cycle of love, loss, and regret remarkably well. His voice simply tells you the story with a quiet yearning sprinkled with sadness that comforts rather than depresses. Although Webb's enduring hit song "Didn't We" has withstood countless versions, it is doubtful that any could compare to Feinstein's sensitive interpretation. The quiet piano strains and Feinstein's reflective vocals tenderly deliver the song's bittersweet meaning as if being recorded for the very first time. Up-tempo tunes are banished in order to maintain the collection's moody air with even the sprightly 5th Dimension hit "Up, Up and Away" modestly held to a slight bossa nova groove that, once again, brings the lyrics to the forefront. This is not the first time Webb has approached his songs in this style, as he employed similar piano-based arrangements on the 1996 solo-disc Ten Easy Pieces, but his voice lacked the depth needed to properly interpret the lyrics. With Feinstein, Webb has found his muse and the perfect voice in which to showcase his compositions. Examples of this can be heard in the muted longing portrayed in the lullaby-like "She Moves, Eyes Follow" or the delicate sadness and sense of loss felt in the aftermath of a break-up in "Is There Love After You?" With each song, Feinstein envelopes the lyrics with a warmth and passion that sends these songs straight to the heart. At the onset, Only One Life may seem a bit depressing, but with each listen the melancholy lifts and is replaced by a reflection of past experiences that are revisited with a sense of nostalgia and solace. With their inspired collaboration, Webb and Feinstein have created a piece of work that stands as a great achievement within both of their long-standing careers and a perfect soundtrack for reminiscing about the days of love with a new understanding and, ultimately, a sense of hope.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/7/2003
  • Label: Concord Records
  • UPC: 013431220329
  • Catalog Number: 2203
  • Sales rank: 406,605

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Michael Feinstein Primary Artist, Piano
Alan Broadbent Piano
Matt Catingub Alto Saxophone, Soloist
Jimmy Webb Piano, Background Vocals, Synthesizer Drums
Abe Appleman Violin, String Quartet
John Beal Bass
Ronald Carbone Viola
Barry Carl Bass
David Finck Electric Bass, Acoustic Bass
Barry Finclair Violin, Concert Master, String Quartet
Regis Landiorio Violin
Ann Leathers Violin
Richard Locker Cello, String Quartet
Jeff Mironov Guitar, Electric Guitar
Ron Oakland Violin
Suzanne Ornstein Violin
Paul Peabody Violin
Sue Pray Viola, String Quartet
Clay Ruede Cello
Mark Orrin Shuman Cello
Richard Sortomme Violin
Frederick Zlotkin Cello
Jim Hynes Trumpet, Piccolo Trumpet
Semyon Kobialka Cello
Krista Bennion Feeney Violin
Dale Stuckenbruck Violin
Maureen Gallagher Viola
Monica Gerard Viola
Clifford Carter Piano
Belinda Whitney Violin
Mindi Abair Soprano Saxophone
Ken Barward Hoy Viola
Eliana Mendoza Cello
Martin Stoner Violin
Jason Robert Brown Baritone (Vocal)
Richard Sarpola Bass
Allison Miller Percussion, Drums
Roy Chicas Tenor (Vocal)
Don Sklar Tenor (Vocal)
Robert Chassau Violin
David Heiss Cello
Ron Lawrence Viola
Technical Credits
Michael Feinstein Liner Notes
Alan Broadbent Arranger, Orchestral Arrangements
Matt Catingub Orchestral Arrangements
Jimmy Webb Composer, Producer, Piano Arrangement
John Burk Executive Producer
Brian King Engineer
Ed Rak Engineer
David Leaf Liner Notes
Allen Sviridoff Producer
Abbey Anna Art Direction
Glen Barros Executive Producer
Keith Shortreed Digital Editing
Jason Robert Brown Vocal Arrangements
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Outstanding!

    This is a beautiful recording. I was ten years old when the Fifth Dimension recorded "Up, Up and Away," and it has always been one of my favorite songs. This new interpretation by Michael Feinstein leaves me breathless--it gives me goosebumps every time I play it. This CD is amazing!

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews