It all started when he tweeted about his daughter, Anna Rose performing at the Bowery Electric. Immediately, I thought, “Alan Menken has a daughter who sings? I wonder what kind of music.” Because I really was not expecting Disney cover songs, obviously. This curiosity led me to her website AnnaRoseMusic.com and I quickly realized that this chick writes music about my life.
Her first album, Nomad is on Spotify and I queued it up and for the first time in a very long time, I actually sat on my bed and listened to an album all the way through. I don’t think I’ve done that since The Decemberists released their rock opera, The Hazards of Love. Usually, music finds me through the background at work, a melody catches me on the train or a phrase makes me stop while I’m crafting, but this time, I wanted to pay attention. Her voice reminded me a bit of Jewel. That is- if Jewel put down her acoustic guitar and picked up an electric one.
When her song, “All I Have to Say” came on, I paused for a moment and replayed it again.
First you wonder where it all comes from
Then and when it all goes
And then silence takes over for awhile
And you shift into auto
Focus on shapes in the wall
And when its over, you realize you’re leaving what you never knew you started at all
And all I have to say is goodbye
But suddenly I don't know what to say anymore.
I thought I had it all planned out
But everything I planned on is so far gone
I used feel like I was invincible
Now everything weakens me as I walk towards the dawn
But I focus on the shapes in the wall
And now its over and I realize I’m leaving what I never knew I started at all
And all I have to say is goodbye but there are so many people standing in the way
And all of them watch as I walk through the door but suddenly I don't know what to say anymore
Suddenly I don't know what to say anymore
Suddenly I don't know what to say
First you wonder where it all comes from
A good song, even if the lyrics are sad (and sometimes especially if they are) can envelope you into a cocoon of comfort so to speak. Lying in bed, thinking about your life, listening to someone’s voice sing and express the exact thoughts swimming through your head is like an invisible hand on your shoulder, letting you know everything will be alright.
Anna had let me know about a contest to win tickets to the show and snag a spot on her guest list so of course I entered. I was still sitting at work, applying my make-up with her song, “Swan Song” blasting from my computer when I got the email saying that I had won. When I got there, I realized I had seen Maria Taylor there once before, so I bought my drink and waited for the perfect moment to slip to the front and center of the floor.
She opened with “Behold a Pale Horse”, which is completely different from anything on Nomad and totally kick-ass.
First off, her voice has definitely changed. Still angelic at times, but now I also hear a low, sultry and smoky woman. This new material is raw and is an album I want to blast in my room and let the loud decibels carry me away to another place and time. I must say though, Anna is a petite woman and I was not expecting such a powerful voice to come out of someone so small.
Halfway through the concert, while fighting the urge to just let go and dance because I didn’t want to block the people standing in back of me, I finally said, “Fuck it,” and let loose. It also helped that both her father and then two guys who were friends of hers were dancing next to me so I didn’t have to feel self-conscious. The music was loud, liberating and extremely fun. She even did an incredible cover of Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression that I caught a bit on video. Afterwards, I waited around to meet her. When she walked outside, I seized the opportunity to introduce myself. I really just expected a thank you and perhaps a chance to snap a photo, but what I ended up getting was a hug and one of the most genuine, friendly people I have ever met. Alan interrupted us for a moment and she introduced me. It was funny because he asked me my name and shaking my hand, said “I’m Alan.” I fought the urge to say, “Yeah, no kidding, sir.” I told him that I actually had him to thank for this serendipitous encounter and I really did. Again, folks, Twitter can be so friggin useful.
|Proud Papa waiting outside.|
For real, y’all, the Menken sisters are flippin’ adorable.
Must be those Menken good manners.
|Don't you love it when the flash just kills it?|