After the release of his acclaimed debut album Unwritten Songs earlier this year, Michael Bruce gathered together some established (West End) performers as well as newcomers to perform his songs as part of the Speckulation Acoustic Sessions at The Pheasantry.
Michael Bruce is one of the most talented and versatile contemporary composers and I’ve listened to his album more times than I’d ever admit publicly. It’s a perfect mix of ballads and uptempo songs with clever lyrics, and they’re all extremely catchy. Therefore I was very much looking forward to this evening and I was not disappointed.
Michael was joined by Tori Allen-Martin, Paul Spicer, Amelia Adams Pearce, Phoebe Fildes, Ben Alyn Francis, Helena Blackman, Dale Page, Sam Edwards and Stef Booth.
The first song, My Kind of World, was sung by Tori Allen-Martin. Stunning voice and a great start to the evening!
Next up was Even Then, sung by Paul Spicer. It’s one of my favourite songs on the album, it’s so beautiful. Paul’s got a great voice and it was wonderful hearing him sing it live.
The next song, I Want A Man, shows how versatile a composer Michael Bruce is and that he can’t really be placed in one genre. Amelia Adams Pearce and Tori Allen Martin did a great job with this upbeat and witty song.
Looking Back is another favourite song of mine, ever since I’ve heard it at the Apollo concert two years ago. Phoebe Fildes has got a stunning voice and it blended so well with Ben Alyn Francis’.
Helena Blackman’s It’s Not Gonna Rain was, in one word, incredible. Beautiful song and beautifully performed!
Phoebe Fildes came back on stage for the next song, Someplace Beyond the Moon. She’s got such a lovely tone to her voice and I think I actually prefer her version to the one on the album.
The last song of the first half was Money, Honey sung by Dale Page with Tori Allen-Martin, Phoebe Fildes, Paul Spicer and Michael Bruce. It’s a more jazzy song and Dale Page did a great job. It’s the only song I often skip when listening to the album, but I really liked it yesterday.
The second half started with Don’t Wanna Leave You Now, which was sung by the man himself. It’s a very catchy song and I loved the acoustic version of it.
After a rather dramatic stage entrance, Amelia Adams Pearce sang What Do You Do?. Written for a charity auction, this song had never been performed before, which is a shame, because it’s hauntingly beautiful.
Next up was Sam Edwards with Away. He’s another new talent and had sung the song at Michael Bruce’s album launch earlier this year. It’s a stunning song and Sam Edwards was wonderful, very strong voice.
Christmas songs in June? Why not 😉 First up was Stef Booth singing Children. It’s the song Michael Bruce won the Notes For The Stage competition with in 2007 and it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. Stef Booth has a wonderful voice, too.
Then Helena Blackman sang the rather cheeky This Christmas. Very funny song and witty lyrics.
Unwritten Song was sung by Paul Spicer. It’s my absolutely favourite song on the album, mainly because it’s the only one I could instantly relate to when I listened to it for the first time. Beautiful, moving lyrics and Paul Spicer almost moved me to tears with his interpretation.
The last song of the evening, The Musical Theatre Song, was sung by Michael Bruce again. It’s a hilarious song and was the perfect ending to a wonderful evening.
While the evening felt a bit short, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything. Michael Bruce is definitely one to watch out for, and, after having already seen The Great British Country Fete last summer, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for seeing another full musical by him in the not too distant future.
You can buy Michael Bruce’s debut album Unwritten Song at Dress Circle or download it on iTunes.