Gay Marshall - “I Came So Far For Beauty/Dress Rehearsal Rag”
Review by Reagan March & Staff
With two already released independent CD’s, being named a Billboard Top World Artist for recording, and having performed at Carnegie Hall, Gay Marshall has made quite a name for herself. Marshall’s talent is evident through her professional sound and credible history within the music and performing industry overall.
Gay Marshall entices listeners with a creative mash-up of Leonard Cohen's "I Came So Far For Beauty" and "Dress Rehearsal Rag." Substituting what is normally piano for warm, gritty accordion, the song opens with the lulling chord progression from "I Came So Far For Beauty" with a pleasant "old-timey" twist as Gay Marshall kicks things off with enchanting, spoken word poetry. The gently delivered phrases and legato lines last for only a brief moment before the instrumental arrangement ramps up into an intense presentation of pulsing strings, piano and bass in a seamless transition into "Dress Rehearsal Rag."
The music is moved through the constantly changing dynamics and the intensity of the drums allowing the piece to rise and fall accordingly. Let alone the instrumental part of the piece, Marshall’s professional vocals are intriguing as her clear tone and beautiful vibrato are exhibited throughout the piece. Her vocal technique is impressive as she is capable of moving accordingly with the music, regarding intensity and dynamics.
The theatrical approach to the song keeps listeners captivated and entranced through a story of personal downfall which is apparent in the lines, “I thought you were a racing man, ah but you couldn’t take the pace” and “and wasn’t it a long way down”. The meaning behind the song portrays itself to be of shame and disgrace regarding personal downfall. After once being on top, the character of the piece is now unsuccessful. This message can act as either relatable or as inspiration for others to continue to persevere at their goals rather than live a complacent lifestyle.
“I Came So Far For Beauty/Dress Rehearsal Rag” gives listeners a first impression of Marshall’s voice and musical style . The overall sound of her cover, with well-conceived technical details and her astounding tone, creates a very full and well-rounded song. Marshall’s music deserves a worthwhile listen, as she perfectly displays the necessities of a musician in her Leonard Cohen cover.
About Gay Marshall
Gay Marshall has released 3 independent CDs, and is a Billboard Top World Artist for her recording, Gay Marshall Sings Piaf, La Vie L’Amour. For the past 10 years she has worked mainly in New York City nightclubs and great halls, building a loyal following of downtown music lovers. She has performed at Joe’s Pub and Carnegie Hall as well as Pangea and Feinstein’s. She recently turned her attention to the poet and songwriter, Leonard Cohen, and released a collection of his music and poetry, Back on Boogie Street in 2020. Gay has been a guest of NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon and Sandra Bernhard’s Sandyland. Her recording, Go Back Where You Stayed Last Night, is a collection of early 20th C. Blues and Jazz.
Marshall began her music career singing in a small French restaurant in Cleveland once a week after returning home from London, where she attended the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Her repertoire included French music and Dixieland blues and jazz, Broadway tunes and standards. She eventually made her way to Broadway and A Chorus Line, playing Diana Morales, and singing "What I Did for Love" every night.
Marshall went to Paris to study French and fell in love with the city and her husband. She originated the role of Grizabella in the original French production of CATS, did Les Z'Années Zazous at the Folies Bergère, and created the roles of l'Autruche and the Petit Caillou in Emilie Jolie at the Cirque d'Hiver. During the day, she dubbed a lot of films and cartoons. She also performed with English theatre groups and was the voice of beauty brand, Garnier Nutrisse, for many years. Her original show, If I Were Me… . had successful runs in Paris, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it received rave reviews, and was declared by the Daily Express to be #2 on their Top Ten list of shows not to be missed. She wrote an original show about French icon, Edith Piaf, called “La Vie l’Amour” that played in Cleveland at the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, in Dayton at the Victory Theatre and in Kansas City at the Missouri Rep. She now lives mainly in Paris and Biarritz with her husband, photographer Jean-Louis Blondeau.
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