Visual artist, pianist, vocalist, and composer Meredith d'Ambrosio has quietly been releasing critically acclaimed recordings since 1978. Never one to push recordings on her fans, By Myself is her first release since 2006. This new 2011 recording features, exclusively, the songs of Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz and is framed only by her voice and sparse piano playing.
The 14 tracks all sound melancholy, introspective and plaintively search for each song's deepest meaning. The result is that even on the songs featuring positive sentiments, such as "Through A Thousand Dreams," the air of missed chance and sad reflection predominates. The tempo rubato appraisals conveyed on each song, and the sotto voce breathy singing style is used exclusively throughout the disc. Taking a tone reminiscent of Sheila Jordan's more recent recordings, d'Ambrosio's readings take on the tenor of woeful contemplation.
This style works most especially well on forlorn songs, such as "Once Upon A Long Ago" and "I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan." On these numbers she is able to tap into a deep well of life experience and find feelings fashioned around heartbreak. That she does this better than just about anyone out there making music happen speaks to her untold depth of soulful echoes.
Be warned, there is nothing close to resembling a mid-tempo romp on this release. "You And The Night And The Music" comes closest, but it still plays into the dark overall mood overshadowing the entire release. That the album is stylistically repetitive as the 14 cuts progress will probably only appeal to her most ardent fans, but for those who are looking for depth and individual artistic statements in a fast-paced life there will be much to mine.