Jazz Dimensions Magazine, Germany
Meryl Leppard is a singer, songwriter and pianist. A master of the soft tone. A singer who tells a story as she sings. In an elegant and mysterious way the adopted New Yorker presents a theatre-like performance to her public.
Together with Gawain Mathews (guitar) Bob Spencer (guitar) Dan Feiszli (double bass) Anna McDonald (violin) Ginetta Minichiello (trumpet) and Micha Patri (drums) the Australian born Meryl Leppard kidnaps us and takes us to her own world of music which is full of images and rich in pictures.
Origami is well known as a Japanese Art, objects are molded from paper to make for example, flowers or animals. They are then used to create complete stories.
Meryl is also telling a story but she does that with her wonderful piano playing and her warm and tender voice, which is not folded up like Origami but is spread out like a big silk umbrella over the audience as she draws the listener slowly into her poetic world. Jazz Dimensions Magazine, Germany
“Leppard is the genuine article. A singer songwriter, pianist and actor.” The A List, Sun Herald Time Out
“Stunning and unique talent, Meryl Leppard.” Griffin Theatre
“Meryl Leppard is all style – not just glamour, not just presence, not just hints of vaudeville, but the real McCoy. A hugely talented Queen of Performance.” Revolver Music Magazine
The Week in Music with David P. Weber
16/10/2013 , 7:15 PM by David P. Weber
Plunge is a collaboration between singer Meryl Leppard and pianist/songwriter Scott A. Walker.
No, not THAT Scott Walker, this one is Australian..
Although, and interestingly, there are elements of Scott Walker’s avant classical approach in this wonderful album, if more tuneful and approachable.
Scott A.’s piano is occasionally cushioned by an orchestral bed.
It costs a bit to properly record an orchestra these days..
Yet closer inspection reveals the orchestral accompaniment is created via samples from the Vienna Symphonic Library.
A moment of puritanical outrage is salved by the free recognition that this is how things are done these days.
And when the end result is as beautiful as this, who can argue?
You gotta be good to pull off something spare and stark like this, and Plunge does it so well.
Two tracks of expansively lilting music make way for the jazzier scat of ‘Total Babe’, which pulses across a waterfall of urgent notes.
The cinematic but aching ‘I Cried No Tears’ sets a new benchmark in torch songs while ‘Unresolved Sexual Tension’ is (thankfully) not as edgy as the title suggests.
With ‘Baby Jane’ and the particularly smoky ‘Sex Object’ following up, this LP could be considered a finely tuned accompaniment to certain activities..
The rest of the album, from ‘My Kind Of Lonely’ through to ‘Pussycat Girl’ ranges from the glorious to the sublime.
The last four tracks could justifiably be considered one single flowing piece.
Hear Leppard twine her spectacular voice around timeless lyrics..
“It’s too late baby, it’s just too late,
Don’t think that you can charm your way into my heart,
Tell someone who cares, tell someone who cares”
‘When Is That Day’ is saved from melodrama by a rush of notes courtesy of Walker’s busily lithe fingers.
Indeed, on the closing track, ‘Pussycat Girl’, Walker produces a heart-churning raindrop run which leaves you wanting more.
So you simply play it again, and immerse.
The only drawback for this album, if there is one, could be that it’s hard to know how it would be categorized.
It’s Pop and Classical and Jazz and New Age and even Cabaret.
If there were a category called Quite Brilliant Contemporary, Plunge would be placed towards the front.
I want to say ‘take the Plunge’ but it’s the title of the first track, so I’ll just leave it there.
Let the music speak for itself.
Even the cat sleeps, stretched out on the old bench,
tail curled around a basket of fading onions.
What else is there left to do in this heat but sleep?
The bone-bleaching wind drapes itself around the western wall,
licking what’s left of the tired geranium and shriveling it on the spot.
His barbed wire tongue slices like a razor blade,
striking first and asking questions later.
It’s an electrified fence in the top paddock
and there is history after history to dismantle
and she’s too tired to be polite.
Her heart holds rows of scorched bats.
Mummified mammals with fried feet,
swinging their mute protest from an unexpected obstacle.
The back door creaks as he sneaks onto the verandah,
torn fly-wire no match for the flying ants and giants Bogongs
that dart and flap and slap themselves on the nearest source of light.
The room is full of yesterday’s sex and tomorrow’s aspirations.
She feigns sleep as he stands still and b r e a t h e s –
each one waiting for the other to move first.
One slender, freckled arm peels back the thinning sheet like a promise
and he is once more allowed to slide beside her.
The tired soldier; the roaring wild thing, now a contrite child,
limp and suckling at her breast.
Whether the weather is stormy or dry
Whether the dingoes howl
Whether the heat is a wave in the sky
Whether the beasties prowl
Whether the dust gathers a curse
And blackens the world that I know
Whether the sun withers the trees
at the edge of the water hole
I will be waiting
I will be waiting
I will be waiting
For the Camel Man.
Carry the load that is destined to fall
Carry the pain in your heart
Carry the relic of earlier wars
Carry the sweet and the sharp
Carry the seed of a still summer night
And a memory of how we lay
Carry a map of the treasure you lost
And a star to point the way
You will be waiting
You will be waiting
You will be waiting
One day, Camel Man
When I was younger I lived on my dreams
I ran in a bare-foot way
Now I am older, it seems
That the skin on my feet
Is cracking and dry
And dreams give me fear
Of a Black-fella’s eye
He is the rain that can break the dry spell
He is the snake in the grass
He is the song of crickets at night
He is the brumby that pass
He is a man who’s never afraid
Of the dance of the min-min light
He is a wound here in my breast
That aches in the morning light
I wait forever, I am waiting
I wait for ever
For the Camel man.
Meryl Leppard © 2000
The bird-man combs his lank, gray hair and coaxes it over his bald spot, securing his status as a local lady-killer.
He changed his window display yesterday. We lost the child-like water colours of Twin Towers and exploding jets, but gained Marilyn; white pleated skirt laughingly held by a hand that never washed dishes. There’s a plastic pink carnation taped to the side of the photo to add a festive touch. Bird-man likes his icons.
He tells me anything I want to know about the mating rituals of finches, the nervousness of peach faces, the competitiveness of minor birds.
He’s a fund of information, watching the world from his concrete front yard. Bum in deckchair. Radio on.
He leans over the front fence clutching two blue budgerigars and tells me that they are new, that they are lovers, that they kiss. “Do you want to see?” The birds duly peck at each others beaks as he leans their pretty heads close together. “They have their own song,” he announces gleefully. “Watch this”, he says and launches into a mellow rendition, swaying in time to his own waltz, a little bird in each fat fist.
“I give to you as you give to me, true love, (kiss kiss) true love.” (kiss kiss.)
“I had a girl once”, he confided to me one day. I listened politely, wondering what was going to come next. “I had a girl once”……………was all he said before letting the sentence peter out and looking wistfully away.
Meryl Leppard © 2001