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The Other Side of Me

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Album Review

The utter brilliance of the renowned vocal great's first official foray into rock-edged country music should shutter for good the adage that an artist must stick to a single genre to be marketable and successful. Over the years, the world got so used to her glowing interpretations of Broadway standards—and her keen ability to carry on the grand traditions of Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand—that any deviation might have been seen as risky or crazy. But the truth is, as the singer puts it, "This isn't so much a departure as it is me getting back to who I really am." The colorful mix of material (from the rousing, gospel-influenced "Back to Life" by superstar pop songwriter Kara DioGuardi to Eder's own explosive, very personal blues-rocker "Waiting for the Fall") and loose and high-spirited arrangements reflect the kind of music that moved her as a child, when she first started playing the guitar and writing songs. Musically, she and producer Billy Jay Stein back up with great integrity and passion her assertion that stepping into the ballgown and singing standards is like playing a role, while this rootsy music is more natural for her. Although the album was released by the great jazz label Verve, songs like the uptempo country jam "Pieces," the jangling "Prayer for Love," and the largely acoustic ballad "If You Believe (The Way I Do)" would find a joyful home on mainstream country radio. Beyond the rootsier songs, Eder engages in some magical cover versions of the heart-tugging parent to child classic "If I Could," Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now" (done with equal parts wistfulness and dreamy atmosphere) and, more graceful yet, the Indigo Girls' folk-pop gem "Ghost." While Eder will always be welcome performing with fellow Broadway aficionados Michael Feinstein and Marvin Hamlisch, this stellar journey of the heart should find her making reservations to take the stage at the CMA Festival in Nashville any year now. This is a side of the singer that should stick around for a long time.

Biography

Born: 03 February 1961 in Brainerd, MN

Genre: Vocal

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Linda Eder was perhaps the most popular new interpreter of theatrical songs to emerge during the '90s. A disciple of Barbra Streisand early on, Eder gradually forged her own vocal style, and branched out from show tunes to include pop standards, light swing, and adult contemporary balladry in her repertoire. As a stage actress, Eder worked primarily with her husband, composer Frank Wildhorn, who often designed his material specifically for her (and produced her recordings as well). It was Wildhorn's...
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The Other Side of Me, Linda Eder
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