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Michael Littwin, The Nearness of You

~ CD Review ~

Aug 4, 2013

Kimmy Sophia Brown

I often wonder how singers become famous. If it were only by talent or the God-given gift, then Michael Littwin would be a household name. I first heard Michael sing when we were friends in our twenties, many years ago in California. He performed a lot of John Denver songs in those days, and people often said that they liked Michael’s voice even more than John Denver’s!

Time and distance is the human condition, and thus, our lives went in different directions. We lost touch. Years passed. Since I’m still a huge music aficianado, I recently thought of Michael and wondered if he was still performing. With the miracle of the Google search engine, I looked for him and waddya know, thar he was, alive and well, and still singing his heart out! He became an English professor, but to my delight, he still performs traditional Irish music, as well as his own compositions.

We emailed back and forth a couple of times and he sent me a copy of his recent CD. Michael’s voice was, and is a heavenly, arching tenor that soars where angel’s voices reside. I get chills listening to him.

The CD includes traditional songs such as “Danny Boy”, “No Man’s Land”, “The Scotsman and His Kilt”, and “When You and I Were Young, Maggie”. These arrangements are both beautiful and fun.

He does a noble version of  “Song for Ireland”, probably made most famous by Mary Black. Michael’s voice is robust and emotional, and the feeling of the song is crisply executed.

His own composition, “The Nearness of You” is quite lovely – not to be confused with the classic standard of the same name. This is an original love song, sung with his sweet, seemingly effortless voice.

His composition “Alanna Mo Chroi”, not only won him first prize in a songwriting contest but also a trip to Ireland.

He does an amazing cover of “The Eagle and the Hawk” by John Denver. I listened to John’s version of this too, and would even go so far as to say that John Denver’s voice is more tinny or metallic than Michael’s. They both have the passion, but to me, Michael’s voice surpasses Denver’s with clarity and tone.

Outstanding among them all is a song called “Eyes of a Child”.  It has a mythic feel to it, like a ballad by Pentangle or Fairport Convention. It’s the kind of song that could have been used in “The Lord of the Rings” films.

If you ever go to Phoenix, Arizona you might hear Michael perform at the Irish Cultural Center. You can visit his website and purchase his CD at www.mlittwin.com. I’m so glad to be back in touch with you Michael, you’re a blessing to me ears!

Press Photo from Michael's website.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember. She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.


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