Once Upon A Time

Back To The Classics 
By LINDSAY WARNER, The Bulletin 

Philadelphia - Meandering through a collection of classics like a well-known friend, Philadelphia local Katie Eagleson's debut CD, Once Upon a Time, traverses the era of the Great American Songbook with many renowned singers by her side. Eagleson's warm, emotional voice wraps around the lyrics of Broadway and film greats from the 1950s to the 1980s, covering songs from composers such as Stephen Sondheim, Cy Coleman, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Michael Leonard and Charles Strouse. 

Eagleson's voice gives a new vibrancy to the collection of old favorites by her unabashed emotional interpretation of the classics. Accompanied primarily by piano or a small ensemble, Eagleson's voice takes center stage, unhindered by overbearing accompaniment. With the exception of track 13, where Eagleson's clear mezzo-soprano is joined by Bill Collins in the duet, "How Do You Keep the Music Playing," she sings alone, vocalizing with energy and passion. 

Eagleson shines particularly while covering the smooth, slow, traditional sounds of songs like Leonard's "Why Did I Choose You," or the album title song, Lee Adams' "Once Upon a Time." But she also captures a playful, but powerful vibe in Edward C. Redding's, "The End of a Love Affair," a toe-tapping swing number, and the humorous and ironic Coleman tune, "What You Don't Know About Women," which she sings as a zippy pre-recorded duet with herself. 

Through it all, Eagleson's keen sense of pitch glides between the difficult and often dissonant jumps so popular in music from America's Golden Era. With great accuracy, she lands on top of the note, often making jumps from upper register to bottom; from major to minor keys without a hitch. With a clear, narrow vibrato, Eagleson's interpretation of the songs are refreshing and enjoyable, exploring a new genre of cover show tunes, characterized more by a keen emotional interpretation, than the ability to belt a tune out while singing live onstage. In short, Once Upon A Time is a perfect CD for a glass of wine and a summer evening. 

Eagleson, who grew up singing harmony with her sisters and mother, teaches voice lessons and has been involved in vocal performance for over 25 years. She and her husband, Lenny Pierro, have been working together as a vocal/piano duo for many years, and many of the songs from Once Upon a Time were taken from their repertoire while performing at hotels and restaurants in the Philadelphia area. 

"We just wanted to do this CD to have a document of what we'd spent so many years doing," said Eagleson. "Performing and teaching music is a big part of my life, and I love every minute of it." 

Recorded in Spring House, by MorningStar Studios, Eagleson used musicians garnered from years in the business, most of who hail from the Philadelphia/New Jersey area. 

Lindsay Warner can be reached at calendar@thebulletin.us 

©The Evening Bulletin 2007