12 agosto 2021

 

Quand'anche fosse musica leggera la sua, American Dreamer offre l'occasione per (ri)scoprirne i meriti e i pregi. Lo scrive Richard Williams: "Whatever role Laura Nyro chose to play – earth mother, soul sister, angel of the Bronx subways – she committed to it. With a soaring, open-hearted voice and ingeniously crafted compositions, Nyro transformed a range of influences into her own kind of art song. She made vertiginous shifts from hushed reveries to ecstatic gospel-driven shout-ups with an intensity and a courage that, as Elton John would point out, left its mark on many contemporaries who achieved greater commercial success. As the music of the 1960s reached a climax, no one else merged the new songwriting freedoms pioneered by Bob Dylan with the pop sensibility of the Brill Building tunesmiths to such intriguing effect. As a teenager, she wrote And When I Die and Stoney End, songs that became hits for other artists. Her own enigmatically titled albums – Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, New York Tendaberry, Christmas and the Beads of Sweat – showed a precociously sophisticated sensibility. Later, rejecting commercial pressures, she would help push the boundaries of popular music by writing songs celebrating motherhood, female sexuality and her menstrual cycle. In the hearts of admirers, she kindled a loyalty fierce enough to withstand the semi-obscurity into which she had fallen by the time of her death from ovarian cancer in 1997, at 49. But a new generation will this month get to hear Nyro’s music, as American Dreamer, a box set containing her first seven albums and an eighth disc of rarities and live tracks, is released."