Producer: John Owen-Jones
Reviewer: John Roberts
The record breaking and multi-award winning John Owen-Jones has had one of the most illustrious careers in musical theatre history, with performances in this country and on broadway, the envy of many in his chosen profession, But with the fame comes a quiet confidence that has won him many fans, his ability to interact with them on many levels including social media platform Twitter has firmly rooted him into the public psyche.
Unmasked is Owen-Jones’ second full length album following his self titled debut album and the E.P Hallelujah, the song choices charting his musical theatre performances and some of his personal favourites – although sad to say you won’t find any Metallica or heavy rock that feature in his #musicoftonight tweets on the playlist.
The album opens with a haunting and atmospheric cover of David Bowie’s ‘Nature Boy’ providing just a glimpse of the vocal prowess still to come on the rest of the album, delightful renditions of ‘Thunderball’ and Frank Wildhorn’s ‘This is the Moment’ from Jekyll and Hyde follow, other strong highlights include a tender performance of ‘Being Alive’ from Sondheim’s Company and ‘I Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You).’
Lesser known but equally enjoyable are ‘I Don’t Remember You’ and ‘Down By The Sea’ but it is the inclusions of the songs that most have come to associate with Owen-Jones that stand proud, his heartfelt renditions of ‘Music of the Night’ and ‘Bring Him Home’ show off his strength in being able to interpret and bring such depth to the lyrics and this is also true when when duetting with Natasha Marsh on ‘All I Ask of You’. Other notable tracks include Leonard Cohan’s ‘Hallalejah’ and ‘Till I Hear You Sing’ from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s recent musical Love Never Dies.
There is always a fear of second album syndrome, but that need not be a worry here, however the master of the musicals, now has a tough mountain to climb to make his next album as enjoyable and as perfectly produced as this little gem.