Review by Carol Daly, Performer — performance on 6/20/14
I had the pleasure of seeing Rhonda Denet and The Bad Cats, the four skillful musicians who accompanied her last Friday evening at Something Jazz Club in NYC. Rhonda started off the set almost demure with a hint of shyness. She began singing the words “ My World My Dream My Song -I have all it takes to be strong- I believe and so it shall be.” And we do believe her and the many stories which inspired all the original songs in this show. “Stepping into to the sunrise of my life -if I didn’t know better would have walked out in my own life” she continues in her opening song “My World, My Dream, My Song.” From the start we can relate to what she is saying in all of its vulnerability and humanity. The song, “Still with Me” expresses deep appreciation for Rhonda’s friend who lost her life without warning. It is a heartfelt remembrance of this dear friend and an affirmation of her eternal presence.
Rhonda takes us on a journey of life filled with pain, beauty, longing, love and being “Perfectly Human,” urging us to “keep our heads up” as she does. She tells us we’re perfectly human just as we are and again we believe her and savor the moment. In “Destiny” she’s singing a love letter to the person she desires and shares it with us saying “You arrived just in time. You’re my destiny.” Ms. Denet sings it to him right in front of us with unabashed innocence and driving conviction. And if you think she doesn’t mean business, wait until “Here I Am” a sassy, vibrant, sultry take-me-as-I-am-or-not bluesy song.
This is a singer among singers, a tour de force with a resonant, deep, beautiful, confident voice that comes from the depths of her life, and from her life experiences. One is reminded of Aretha Franklin. She is in her own words transparent and allows us see just who she is. She drives her notes further and further, deeper and deeper, she wails and as Walt Whitman said “Sing(s) the Body Electric.” She makes us see the beauty and electricity, spark and fire in ourselves.
This lady has a beautiful pair of ears, an impressive range, relaxed, powerful belt and impeccable timing as she brings to a close with breathy finely syncopated sounds the song “Ooh Yeah.” “Soulgasmic” love modulates three or four times all perfectly executed by Ms. Denet and winding to a melodic wailing end. The words in the closing song “Give your heart because it’s a gift” were Rhonda’s expression of gratitude for us as well as her way of reminding us of the beauty in us (in case we temporarily forgot) Rhonda Denet made a choice to 10 years ago to pursue her dream as a singer/songwriter and we’re glad that she did!