An earful of some of the best interpretations of the musical standards of both Hammerstein and Sondheim”- Thomas Provenzano, “L.A. Weekly”. Produced by four-time Grammy nominee Robben Ford and Anne’s musical director John Boswell, “Something Wonderful” is a loving tribute to two masterful songwriters for the American theater, Steven Sondheim and his mentor, Oscar Hammerstein. Recorded after Anne had performed this tribute to accolades across the country, the CD features two bonus encore tracks recorded live in San Francisco’s Plush Room. A musical actress with a Broadway resume, Anne returns to her roots with this recording and puts a new spin (with fresh arrangements by John Boswell) on familiar theater songs such as “Something’s Coming”, ‘Being Alive” and her personal favorite, “Bill”.
— Dave Nathan - AMG Expert Review
“Anne Kerry Ford is both an actress and a cabaret singer. The two specialties work well together, as the bread and butter of a cabaret singer is to convey to the listener the emotions and meaning of the lyrics she’s singing. As an actress, she must be convincing in creating the character she is playing. To demonstrate her facility in cabaret, Ford has selected tunes from two composers who were very successful writing both for the stage and screen, Oscar Hammerstein II and Stephen Sondheim. Even though they are from different eras, the continued popularity of their songs proves once again that good music is ageless. Three of the cuts are from live performances, the others were done in the studio. On “The Miller’s Son,” from one of Sondheim’s many Broadway hits, A Little Night Music, Ford is very dramatic and intense. In contrast, her soprano, clear as a mountain lake, sprouts wings on “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.” One of the more lovely pieces on the CD is the medley from one of the more fruitful of the Hammerstein/Richard Rodgers harvest of musical collaborations, Carousel. The presence of Gianna Abondolo’s cello helps to create the correct mood. The gold star for accompaniment, however, goes to pianist John Boswell. In cabaret, the piano player cannot simply comp or insert well-placed chords. He or she must match the vocal posture the singer is taking with each tune, running the emotional gamut from strong intensity to gentle romanticism. Boswell does it with verve and élan. Also on the session is blues/fusion guitarist Robben Ford, who is also Anne Kerry Ford’s husband. Ford carries on the great cabaret tradition established by the likes of Mabel Mercer, Elisabeth Welch, and others.”
— Joseph Woodard, L.A. Times 11/27/98
“The not-so-lost art of the show tune is something of a thriving subculture. With a burnished tone and smartly deployed vibrato, Anne Kerry Ford continues to carry the torch with passion and precision. Her milieu is all about the clean, improvisation-free expression of tunes. Her second CD, “Something Wonderful,” is just out on the LML Music label, and, like her debut of last year, it’s a solid, no-nonsense showcase for American songs, suitable for listeners of all ages and genre tastes.
The conceptual thread this time has to do with the creative lineage extended from the venerable Oscar Hammerstein to the younger Stephen Sondheim, who have a sturdier connection than might be expected. The set is framed by two Sondheim songs…”Something’s Coming” from “West Side Story” and “With So Little To Be Sure Of” from “Anyone Can Whistle.” Hammerstein tunes such as “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’”, “Edelweiss” and the album’s title track, if more sentimental than Sondheim, have a comparable blend of sophistication and warmth.”
The production aesthetic here is simple but effective, a good vehicle for empathetic vocal treatments. Mostly, she is joined by her keyboardist-accompanist, John Boswell, with occasional guest appearances by noted blues-jazz guitarist Robben Ford on acoustic guitar, bassist Nico Abondolo…using arco for a cello-like effect…and accordionist Brian Mann.
Since committing to explore American song in the last few years, Ford has been performing in clubs and cabarets, including the Gardenia Room in Hollywood and the Triad in Manhattan, where she performed last month. The intimacy of the supper-club atmosphere is captured in two tunes recorded live in San Francisco’s Plush Room.”
— Steven Wells, “Cabaret Showcase Online”
“For Anne Kerry Ford, it’s the many faces of love, the joy to be taken in simply being alive, and the passing of knowledge and inspiration between generations that constitute something wonderful. Certainly, the very clever choice of songs on this album goes a long way to amplifying the notion that Oscar Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim are linked by a genius for expressing the everyday commonplaces as well as the grandest flights of fantasy through song…Ford’s refusal to grandstand is consistent…The effect is to create a quieter (more feminine?) expression of joie de vivre and light up a new avenue of meaning passing from Oscar Hammerstein to new generations. There’s definitely something wonderful in that… Ford’s artistry lies in her absolute lack of artifice. Through conveying to us so openly her sense of wonder at loving, learning and simply being, she has added her own little something wonderful to life and our journey through it.”
— Mark Jennett, culturevulture.net 6/15/99
“Ford has a fresh, pure soprano voice which she uses intelligently to present her material in a warm and straightforward manner. She clearly has a great affection for these songs and presents them with little embellishment in subtly clever arrangements by John Boswell. With material as familiar as this, there is a temptation for singers to feel they must always be looking for a different slant or a clever new setting for every number. In fact there probably aren’t too many different ways to sing “The Miller’s Son” or “Edelweiss”. Ford recognizes this and has the wisdom simply to find the right character for each piece and then let the melody and lyrics speak for themselves.
One of the album’s highlights is a delightfully wistful reading of “All Through The Day”. Ford’s delivery of the bittersweet yet essentially optimistic Hammerstein lyric is set, in Boswell’s accompaniment, against the instantly recognizable melody of Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind”. The effect is to create magical new layers of meaning as the listener recognizes what the singer, perhaps, does not – that the simple pleasure she takes in waiting for her lover to return can only last as long as her absolute certainty that he will.
Ford colors her voice effectively to suit the mood of each song – youthful and eager on “Something’s Coming”, it takes on altogether darker tones for a tender “Something Wonderful”. Her “Being Alive” is unusually restrained- it’s note of patient,self-contained sadness, certainly effective. These songs are old friends and Ford’s gently perceptive readings make for highly pleasurable listening.”
— Max O.Preeo, “Show Music Magazine”, Spring 1999
“Anne Kerry Ford’s “Something Wonderful” pairs lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II with those of his pupil, Stephen Sondheim. Each has a distinctive view of love: Hammerstein’s warmly romantic and Sondheim’s more clear-eyed about the perils of giving one’s heart to another. Their differing views are expressed in Hammerstein’s lyric that gives the collection its title, and by Sondheim’s “Being Alive”. Ford doesn’t juxtapose their words in medleys, although she sings Hammerstein’s “All Through The Day” against Sondheim’s “Losing My Mind” melody, which works surprisingly well…With a clear, lovely soprano, Ford interprets these lyrics with insight, steering clear of too much melodrama.”
— Rene de Cocq, Apeldoornse Courant, Netherlands 3/6/99
“She has filled a CD with a program of songs from the hands of Oscar Hammerstein and Stephen Sondheim. The fun of the Ford version lies in the fact that Anne, who has a warm voice, gives this material a new meaning without the usual mannerism of the semi-classically trained voices we normally hear in this genre. In a natural way, she transforms these musical-songs into real songs with a purpose in their own right; one does not need the context of the musical’s story to appreciate them. Husband Robben plays guitar in the backing, but isn’t musical director. That’s in the hands of John Boswell, who chose a modest approach. No orchestra, no choir, only the beautiful voice of Anne Kerry Ford supported by piano, guitar, bass, cello, accordian and oboe, with a touch of percussion. Because of this retrained approach, the album never crosses the thin line in this genre between music and kitch.”
— Gil Ellis WLIM 1580AM (4/9/99)
“The first thing I noticed about “Something Wonderful” was that the musical accompaniment didn’t fight with Anne Kerry Ford’s very pleasant tones. Rather, the arrangements by John Boswell seemed to allow her voice to float over an unobtrusive musical bed, giving us the opportunity to listen without distraction to her warm, lyrical sound. It is obvious by the way Ford traverses a lyric that she is a trained actress bursting with emotion or waxing wistful when a lyric demands more than mere words. Her music is her pallet and her voice the brush. She is a painter of pictures and her art is never lovlier than on “Don’t Ever Leave Me” which is tied with “Can’t Help Lovin’That Man”. In all of the twelve tracks in “Something Wonderful” there is not a single “sour” note of any kind. It is, in fact a delightful CD.”
— Lesley Alexander “Welcome To The Club” WRTN-FM, New York
“Ford has a very pretty, very clear vocal instrument… her voice records extremely well… she sounds just lovely and the song selections are good. If you like theatre music and you’re looking for something pleasant and sweet-sounding, look no further…”
Anne Kerry Ford,a native of Texas, graduated from The Juilliard School when she was only twenty years old and played leading roles in theater throughout the U.S. before being cast in her first starring role in a Broadway musical, playing…