Kristin Chenoweth is a Tony Award-winning Broadway star (Wicked, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown) she returns to her spiritual roots for AS I AM her new album to be released April 5. Kristin introduces Diane Warren's "Borrowed Angels," and covers songs from Amy Grant, Faith Hill, Sandi Patti & Trisha Yearwood. Sony Classical. 2005.
Television viewers know her as The West Wing
's opinionated deputy press secretary Annabeth Schott, while Broadway aficionados are familiar with her Tony-winning work in Wicked
and the revival of You're a Good Man Charlie Brown
, as well as the successful 2001 American Songbook anthology, Let Yourself Go
. But on this eclectic collection of traditional and contemporary gospel anthems and related songs, songstress Kristen Chenoweth claims a bold return to her spiritual roots. Her chameleonic, crystalline soprano lights up the beloved title track standard and the Gaither's modern inspirationals "Because He Lives" and "Upon This Rock" with a deft, Broadway-bred sense of drama. Yet her voice remains supple enough to impart country charms to "It Will Be Me," "Poor Wayfaring Stranger" and Amy Lee Grant's "There Will Never Be Another." One-woman pop songwriting empire Diane Warren offer Chenoweth a typically melodramatic showcase on the spiritually generic "Borrowed Angels," while the unfortunate "Joyful, Joyful" once again proves Ludwig van still
doesn't need any lyrical help with "Ode to Joy," thank you. The album's bonus cut, "Taylor, the Latte Boy," closes out the album on an upbeat note of playful, romantic innocence. --Jerry McCulley