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Rachel Tucker.. You're already home (CD album)

Buy the album here.

It would be very easy for a well-known (on both sides of the Atlantic) musical theatre name to produce an album of show tunes. Nice, but as unexciting as that adjective. Sure, there are a few on here, but out of thirteen just four are from that particular facet of her world.

Rachel Tucker’s “Your Already Home” is instead a journey through the songs her and her family love.

Opening is “It’s Time” - a string-plucking cross of rock and country which is her son Ben’s favourite song. It sets the rest of the album up by defining the energetic sound, loud and unrestrained we enjoy throughout.

The first of the four show numbers is next - the gut-wrenching “He’s My Boy” from “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.” As mother to a son, this is from the heart. Considered but again allowed to broaden from the original theatrical presentation.

“Party of One,” a Brandi Carlile number, is a little country music. Americana, with a terrific lyric opening (as these songs do) in a diner with a coffee. The weary country girl expressing her soft frustrations with a man. “Constant overthinking / secret drinking” and she means it when she says she is tired. The relationship is dying, Tucker’s voice is haunting.

The unusual choice “Following The River” by The Rolling Stones spoke to the singer as mirroring her own life. Giving it a musical theatre sound, the idea of running with a change is an old thought in that realm. The harmonies with her backing singers gives the second half an enjoyably full sound.

There’s a strong case that no strong woman can have her own album without a Cyndi Lauper number. “I’m Gonna Be Strong” fits the bill here. The sleeve notes recognise Lauper is a cross-over between pop and theatre, and the choice matches the mood of this album perfectly – fabulously long note to end on as well.

An unusual arrangement of “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” from timeless “My Fair Lady” provides a lounge singer’s nightclub rendition, slinky trumpet solo lending an air of louche luxury.

Irish singer / songwriter Caroline Kay composed “I’m Home” for this album. It is simple, a little flute water mark giving away geographic origins. Included in a set by someone who has been travelling between countries for a while, it is an interesting contemplation of home and what it means to be away from it.

Changing gear after this is an excellent choice. Free’s “All Right Now” gets an elaborate nuanced production, think Jukebox Musical second act dance interlude with all the fun that contains.

A duet with fellow musical theatre star Jamie Muscato on Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” turns a solo into an open discussion of a relationship in trauma. Both enjoying sharing the music if not the drama it entails. Note that there is strong language used.

Far gentler, third musical theatre choice is “It All Fades Away” from the little known “The Bridges of Madison County” by Jason Robert Brown. The composer himself has arranged the track and even contributes a little musicianship. Well within Rachel Tucker’s comfort zone dramatically, it’s simply her story-telling vocal at its best timing, summing up the affair that shakes up her character’s life in a livelier version of the track which could suit a future stage production. 

The last quarter of the album turns reflective. “Before You Go” is a strong ballad of comfort and hope written by Lewis Capaldi. Featuring Sam Young on piano, Tucker’s vocal control is tested and the rhythm shines through as she reaches out to those in a dark place.

Final show number is “Everything Changes” from “Waitress.” A woman experiencing motherhood for the first time. An “unsung melody for her safekeeping,” all the promises made to a new baby and the difference it makes to those charged with upholding them. Sung with credibility from the heart.

Rounding out the album, “Whole of the Moon” by “The Waterboys” is a clever summary of this journey. “You saw the whole of the moon” rather applies to the emotional trip we take through Rachel Tucker’s broader life outside her stage performances.

Certainly a way to meet the lady behind the actor; an album that will be cherished by existing fans and which will undoubtedly win her more in years to come.

Buy the album here.

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