Michael Cormick’s first album is an easy-listening pleasure.

At last year’s return season of Mamma Mia! I had an epiphany. The show, songs and half the cast were completely familiar but something happened in act two. The simple throwaway story had me on the edge of my seat wanting to scream out “Let him speak Donna you fool – he’s divorced!!” With master singer/actor Michael Cormick playing Sam, the role changed from just another of Sophie’s possible Dads to a thrilling leading man. “Knowing Me, Knowing You” was sung with the intensity of an operatic aria. I had seen Mamma Mia! Countless times and had never even chemistry between Donna and Sam, let alone fireworks and dramatic tension. 

I first became aware of Cormick when I saw him in Falsettos almost twenty years ago. He came to greater promising as the rockin’ Pharaoh in the Australian tour of the new West End production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

With Beauty and the Beast, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera to his credit, amongst many others, it is perhaps a bit of a shame that Cormick didn’t go with a cd of theatre classics and showstoppers from his career highlights for his first album. But this is a small quibble, and the only one I have about a recording that is clearly a labour of love from all involved.

Smooth Sessions is exactly what the title says – a collection of super smooth tracks that very easy on the ear. This is music to chill out and relax to, with an intimacy of tone that makes it feel like Cormick is singing just for you.

While there are some lesser-known tacks, the album really comes to life with a series of classic soft rock numbers that are adapted here for a mellow lounge sound. John Farnham’s “Burn For You”, The Doors’ “Light My Fire” and Bad Company’s “Feel Like Making Love” all benefit from this gentle treatment. Elvis Presley’s “Falling in Love” is a standout, with just a delicate acoustic guitar accompaniment. New life is also breathed into a pair of Beatles classics: “We Can Work It Out” (Duet with Margaret Ulrich) and “Norwegian Wood”.

Fans of Michael Cormick’s inimitable style, and of the music style represented here, will find plenty to enjoy. Maybe show tunes will be on the agenda next time.

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TP Review of Mamma Mia!