AN APPRECIATION OF RIETTA AUSTIN
Her voice has power and reach, enough to summon hearts
And reactions that form beyond language,
As strong as a kiss or friend’s clasp. Rietta Austin performs
At the extent of her soul and endeavour,
From cruiseship to torch song, From James Brown funk to love’s last.
Here is a singer whose song is that of her own endless spirit,
As a West End Wendy she’s journeyed, searching
For her own Peter Pan. Here is a woman who’s lived
For laughs and loves in a splendour, granting her passions
To at jarring times, the wrong man.But from these betrayals,
Her pluck and MD, Tom Walker’s plectrum,
As she headlines in Soho, showcasing albums and work
Still to plan. This is a woman who gives, committing to the air
All around her. Surrounded by friends, she is spending
From body and breath all she has. There is a new EP to come
But here is a covers album in which softened standards
Are granted her special edge and pizzaz,Songs from Cut Me Loose,
An LP with her pretty face on the cover contains rock and rolling,
Rivers of tears and madness.Opening song Madness’s dirty rock
Has Aerosmith and Stones’ blisterm as she exhorts independence
By freeing herself from sadness. For those of you half asleep
Here is an acceptable form of day dreaming,in which your own inner singer
Achieves the majesty of her voice. She can Aretha it out,
Or set her highest tones at dog signals. She thrusts her allure
Into music that justifies buyers choice. Songs called Ordinary and Why,
Back to you, Guilty, chart our own disappointments and the need
We all have to fight on. Rietta and her tight band, play wild, loosening inhibitions
As the intense rhythm rages against the hearts’ need to cure wrongs.
She quotes her mother, Marlene, another powerhouse singer,
Who says that without such heartbreak no truly affecting song
Can be made. And these are songs of appeal, moving from
The middle of the road, across genre, right to the edges
That exceed the shape of the download or CD.
They reach instead to the space that each of us fills
With expression, carried here by a singer
Whose talent and skill shape release.
From 80’s style pop to the now, with sounds that improve
On those far more famous, here is a woman and artist to celebrate.
A working singer whose force fuels the standard phrase
To a warning of how love untendered can seek to renegotiate
Its own space.Finding the power in pop and investing soul in what’s classic,
Rietta Austin deepens night, repaints day. As she recolours the heart,
She sets her stunning voice close to dreaming.
As she sings on Why;
Everytime you close your eyes,
You see me anyway
David Erdos 17/10/17