John Stevens – Red
(Maverick – 2005)
by Matthew S. Robinson
While his former colleagues continue to prance and pose like the amateur pretenders they are, American Idol runner-up John Stevens continues to step away from the pack by focusing on songcraft and true performance. (Perhaps it is no surprise, then, that he was grabbed up by Maverick). Channeling the legendary likes of Bobby Darin, producer Steve Tyrell, and, yes, The Voice himself, Stevens offers a mature selection of Songbook classics and contemporary hits. Smoothly inviting listeners to “Come Fly With Me,” Stevens leans his fiery red head over the mic for a subtly-colored “My Blue Heaven” before smokily pleading for “Someone to Watch Over Me.”
On a cute and coy duet of “Let’s Fall in Love,” Erika Christensen does her best Jane Monheit, trying to keep up with her handsome young partner, who absolutely swings it on a punchy rendition of “All of Me” before calming down dramatically for a paced reading of “I Only Have Eyes for You.” A thinned-out cover of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” and a pianistic reworking of Maroon 5’s “This Love” add a bit of modern flavor to the mix without being out of place. And that appears to be Stevens’ plan: to bring the “young people” to his musical realm by way of their own familiar favorites. So far, it seems to be working!
c. 2005, M. S. Robinson, ARR