Recorded in Toronto over the winter, the CD is a compilation of classic and lesser-known songs from musical theatre, including "Children Will Listen" from Into the Woods, "Dancing" from Hello, Dolly! (Dow is Stanley in the current Stratford Dolly) and, from Guys and Dolls (in which he played Nicely-Nicely in 2004 at Stratford), "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" and the title song.
The songs are presented with a jazz/swing twist by arranger and musical director Rick Fox, who was musical director for the Toronto productions of The Producers, The Lion King and The Phantom of the Opera and will also be musical director for the upcoming production of The Lord of the Rings in Toronto.
The tracks include:
"There were some songs I knew I wanted on the album," Dow told Playbill.com. "And there were some we knew needed to be there. I had just come off a very successful run of Guys and Dolls at the Stratford Festival. 'Sit Down' had to be on — but Rick and I were keen to swing it up a little. I have always loved Sammy Davis, Jr.'s version of 'Guys and Dolls' — so Rick and I swung that one up, too! 'Lucky to Be Me' I have always loved, and it had always been my fantasy-CD-title — and Rick loved the idea of swinging it. So we did. 'Falling in Love with Love' is piece of genius — setting that slightly bitter lyric against such a soaring 'up' melody. It truly tells of love scorned and lost. 'My Foolish Heart' is the finest expression I know of that intense moment before your first kiss — just as 'My Heart Is So Full of You' is the expression of a more profound affection. That's why we set it higher in a more vulnerable place in my voice." Dow continued, "I was raised listening to June Christy, Matt Dennis and the like -- cool, clean voices singing a cool, clean and clear kind of jazz. No pyrotechnics, just the song sung simply and truthfully with a lot of heart and soul. When we listened to these songs with that kind of mental filter on, the whole thing fell into place. It had to be acoustic. With all due respect, we hear too much synthesized music in our theatres already."
The band is piano, bass (fretless and acoustic), guitar (electric and acoustic), drums and percussion, and an old LT7 Hammond Organ, Dow said.
The disc's producer is Canadian producer Jonathan Schwartz; executive producer is Stephen Barber.
Now in his sixth season at Stratford, Dow has also appeared on Broadway in Jane Eyre, The Music Man and Anything Goes. He is a supporter of cabaret performance in Toronto, Chicago and New York and is a member of the Chicago Cabaret Professionals and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs; he said he hopes to help in the development of a similar association for Canadian cabaret artists.
"Lucky to Be Me" is now available at both locations of the Stratford Festival's Theatre Store as well as on Dow's web site, www .brucedowonline.com.
Dow will be performing in July and August in Bruce Dow Goes Bananas, part of the After-Theatre Cabaret series at Stratford Summer Music, which will feature some of the songs from the CD.