Review by Daz Gale
Rachel Tucker has proven herself to be one of the most reliable talents in musical theatre, wowing audiences in both the West End and on Broadway in recent years. While you can currently find h-er at the Savoy Theatre each Monday giving it her best Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, she has simultaneously blessed us with an album of new material for us to get our Tucker fix every day of the week. The question is would this latest offering fly as high as her previous albums?
If you are unfamiliar with Rachel Tucker, she has many musical theatre credits to her name but is perhaps best known to most as her time in Elphaba in Wicked and as Beverley in Come From Away. She has also found the time to record two albums and an EP with her latest album, You're Already Home, her first full length recording in six years.
You may have a preconceived notion of what a Rachel Tucker album may sound like if you have seen her on stage in the past. However, this is an album full of surprises, showing a diverse mix of genres and giving a deeper insight into her character and personality. With the production beginning while Rachel was in New York for Come From Away, knowing that her return to London was imminent, she has used the idea of not knowing where your home should be and the choices you have to make between family, home and career. This is reflected in the diverse song choices with American, English and Irish composers in an album that toes the line between multiple genres.
Opening with ‘It’s Time’ from Imagine Dragons, Rachel’s voice explodes against the slow building number managing to convey a theatricality which extends to her inspired choices in telling the story through song. A gorgeous version of Brandi Carlile’s ‘He’s My One’ is a highlight as is a rousing ‘Following The River’, originally by the Rolling Stones, with new life breathed into it by Rachel.
Fans of musical theatre do get a smattering of numbers with a beautifully sweet ‘Everything Changes’ from Waitress, a lullaby-esque ‘Wouldn’t It Be Loverly’ from My Fair Lady and a truly phenomenal rendition of ‘He’s My Boy’ from Everybody’s Talking About Jamie repeatedly showing why Rachel wows in every musical role she has been in and I’m sure will continue to do in the future.
However, it is the non-musical theatre offerings that provide the most exciting, given her reasons for choosing the numbers, explained in the notes, and the way she brings something new to these versatile numbers thanks to her unmistakable vocals. An undoubted highlight is the original track ‘I’m Home’, written by fellow musical theatre performer Caroline Kay. With an instantly classic feel, it sits perfectly among the more familiar songs on the album with gorgeous lyrics matching the heavenly vocals to create a musical masterpiece.
Rachel isn’t alone for the entire album, joined by some very special guests. Sam Young and Jason Robert Brown accompany her on Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Before You Go’ and ‘It All Fades Away’ from Jason’s own show The Bridges of Madison County respectively, but it is the third collaboration that provides the standout track on the album. For a cover of Billie Eilish’s ‘Happier Than Ever’, Rachel is joined by the powerhouse performer that is Jamie Muscato. If you have seen Jamie in shows such as Heathers or Moulin Rouge, you will know just what a sensational performer he is with a voice like no other. Hearing it immortalised on record, beautifully blending with Rachel’s creates a duet for the ages, bringing something new to a song that is already loved by many. Raw, urgent and emotive, this song in particular is 5 minutes of musical heaven, wowing me from start to finish.
You’re Already Home is a bold offering from Rachel Tucker, who could have quite easily wheeled out an album purely of musical theatre songs, and we would have all no doubt have been blown away. Instead, she has taken risks with some well thought-out, bold and creative choices, leaving a collection of songs that flows together, telling a story and providing another level for Rachel’s storytelling abilities. Rachel may be at home when she is on a stage but she is very clearly just at home in a recording studio, and this flawless assortment of songs will feel equally at home at many a theatre lovers music library.