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Anna Corcoran

Venue: Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room
Town: Liverpool
Date: 3/5/16

Tonight was a very special night for the highly-talented singer-songwriter-pianist Anna Corcoran. Not only was she playing to a sold-out home-town crowd at the prestigious Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room, she was also officially launching her superb new self-released album "Easier Than Falling". Having listened to the new album prior to this evening's performance, I was eagerly anticipating hearing it played live, and I was not to be disappointed.

Anna, playing a wonderful concert grand Steinway, as befits a pianist of her ability, was accompanied by the same excellent musicians who play on the new album - Etienne Girard [bass], Jake Woodward [drums], Mike Smith [keyboards] and Martin Smith [trumpet].Together, they performed the album in its entirety [as Anna said, "If Carole King and Stevie Wonder can do it...."].

The album "Easier Than Falling" is a superb piece of work and the ever-so talented musicians faithfully recreated, on stage, its subtle, sophisticated, jazzy atmosphere, its gorgeous melodies and unashamedly romantic lyrics.

The show began, naturally, with the opening track on the album "All That's Pretty", followed by "Drunk Girl", with its beautiful piano figure and muted trumpet from Martin Smith. Next was the funky "Meltdown", with especially soulful vocals by Anna and her two backing singers . "On a Hillside" has lyrics by Mark Johnson and a gorgeous tune by Anna and is a wonderful evocation of a perfect moment in time ... "We were so young then again".

The album's title track "Easier Than Falling" is another collaboration, this time with Mike Smith who wrote the melody and took over the grand piano from Anna, who stepped up to the front of the stage to show us just what a fine jazz singer she is.

The following "For You For Life", featured some superb bass playing from Etienne Girard, with Anna on piano, giving the song something of the flavour of Joni Mitchell's jazzier moments .The romantic theme continued with "And Winter Came", an achingly beautiful depiction of a day full of love in a frozen landscape. As with the album track, the live version this stunning piece of music sent shivers down my spine.

Tonight's opening artist was Liverpudlian troubadour [and long-time collaborator with Anna] Robert Vincent who now joined Anna on stage [as he does on the album] for "Tied Up With A Ribbon", another beautiful love song of Anna's. Rob remained on stage for the first diversion from the new album, a great cover of John Prine's "Killing The Blues", which was famously recorded by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss on "Raising Sand".

Another cover followed, the gospel-flavoured [thanks to Mike Smith's churchy organ] "Don't Worry About Me".

It was back to the album for "Wisest of Men", which describes Anna's father's advice to her on her wedding day, and the closer, "Adelphi", a joint composition between Anna and Mike Smith.

After such a stunning performance, Anna and her musicians received the standing ovation that they so richly deserved. For an encore, Anna played "The Show", which is also the bonus track on the album. This is the first composition of Anna's that I ever heard and I was immediately smitten by it then and I never get tired of hearing it.

A fine way to end a wonderful evening and to launch a superb album [which, by the way, I wholeheartedly recommend ].

Peter Cowley

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