Music/Lyrics: Ron Yatter
Reviewer: Holly Spanner
Samson &Delilah is the new concept recording from Broadway Records, featuring music and lyrics by Ron Yatter. The recording marks his first solo venture as creator and composer/ lyricist after a successful career as a William Morris Agent.
Samson &Delilah is based on the famous biblical story which tells of a Nazirite Samson, and Delilah from the opposing nation of Philistine. Blessed with enormous physical strength, Samson judges Israel for 20 years until one day when he falls in love with the beautiful Delilah. The rulers of the Philistines bribe Delilah to discover Samson’s secret of incredible strength, and through misguided jealousy she eventually betrays her love.
A real life love story, Ace Young (Samson) and Diana DeGarmo (Delilah) met while performing in the Broadway revival of Hair in 2009. Finding success after appearing on different seasons of American Idol, the pair recently married, and are currently preparing to tour with the new US production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat as Joseph and the Narrator.
DeGarmo has a wonderful tone to her voice, making her both innocent and strong simultaneously. ‘My Revenge’ is a fantastic song for a female lead, and is potentially one of the strongest tracks on the album.
‘The Fire of Life’ has a slightly oriental feel to it, exuding happiness and has a very memorable melody, leaving you humming it soon after the first listening. ‘My Secret Pact’ is a necessary song in this musical, as it explains Samson’s past and gives an understanding to those perhaps not familiar with the bible story.
Young and DeGarmo’s voices combine well with beautiful harmonies in ‘Who Are You?’ early into the album. Delilah, realizing her terrible mistake, reconciles with Samson in ‘Still My Only Love’. A cute song, but not quite the powerful ending you want from a musical. Likewise, more ensemble numbers would round this album off quite nicely. However at only 12 tracks, this is far from a complete symphonic recording and there are likely to be more surprises in store. As it stands, many of these songs would not seem out of place as stand-alone songs in a cabaret night, and would no doubt be very well received, even out of context.
A very strong album in its own right, Samson &Delilah boasts a fresh, new style that works. A modern mix of rock and pop, it is a love story, but the rock edge stops it feeling sickly sweet. A perfect treat for Valentine’s Day or for anyone wanting a new musical theatre album they can listen to over and over. All in all, a great addition to your musical theatre collection.