The most important thing that singers/educators Kate McGarry and Theo Bleckmann impart to their students is the direction to define his or her own vocal trajectory. The lesson was readily honored by Nicky Schrire on her Space and Time (Magenta Label Group, 2013). Vocalist Ashley Daneman also took that message to heart after her study with the pair and released the present and exceptional Beauty Indestructible.
Forged from a harrowing "Long Night of the Soul" (apologies to St. John of the Cross), Beauty Indestructible is a collection of nine original "spirit poems" scored and written by Daneman, existing as an intensely personal song cycle. Daneman addresses the fundamental healing power of love. Endurance and perseverance are large themes here. Daneman presents these thought elements with a fresh-scrubbed alto balanced between pure talent and education.
Daneman's choice of instrumentation is compellingly bold with the inclusion of a healthy amount of Fender Rhodes and cello. The Rhodes, rather than imparting a 1970s period patina, instead updates and softens Daneman's often painful subjects. The standout centerpiece of the disc is the thought-salad cabaret piece, "This is Somebody Else's Piano." Thematically perfect in lyrics and music, this song is infectiously tuneful. Daneman's excellent wordless vocals are precise and fun. Joined by husband and trumpeter Benje, Daneman makes this a publically intimate recording that is frank and unapologetic...and splendidly cast within the cushion of music surrounding it.
How You Got To Yes; He Loves Me Well; Sing Til You're Good And Live Again; This Is Somebody Else's Piano; Think On Whatever Is Lovely; Beauty Indestructible; Here Comes A Body; Where No-one's Ever Lost; The Forest's Virgin Tree.
Ashley Daneman: vocals; Benje Daneman: trumpet; Dave Izard: piano, Fender Rhodes; Sam Weber: bass; Michael W Davis: drums; Matt Davis: guitar; Amali Premawardhana: cello (2, 8, 9).