Let Britain’s favourite tenor Alfie Boe be your ‘Storyteller’ with his eagerly-awaited new album – a personal selection of classic songs, perfectly suited to Alfie’s versatile voice and demonstrating his years of experience and musical passion.
Similar to Boe’s recently released book, My Story – an incredibly candid and emotional autobiography (which shot to No.2 in the Sunday Times Best-sellers list) in which Alfie tells the stories he’d wanted to tell for years – this album contains the songs he has wanted to record for years. And each one tells a story. It will not come as a surprise to those who have read Alfie’s book that the singer came to opera later, spending his teenage years drumming in bands. Here, he returns to his first love, while taking his listeners on a journey.
It is without a doubt the album of his career to date, and truly reflects who he is as a performer. On Storyteller Alfie strips some of his favourite songs to the heart, bringing their beauty to the surface while texturing them with both a band and a traditional orchestra, to sublime effect. The recording process was done the old-fashioned way, as in the 1960s, singing live with the band and orchestra, Alfie virtually conducting them as he sang. Produced by the legendary Mike Hedges (U2, The Cure, Manic Street Preachers, Beautiful South) Alfie presents brand new arrangements of timeless hits such as Simon & Garfunkel’s emotive ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, Rolling Stones classics ‘Angie’ and ‘Shine A Light’ – a nod to their 50th year in the business – Presley’s moving ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You’, here sung as a lullaby, and the beautiful ‘Angels from Montgomery’ by American folk singer-songwriter John Prine.
This album, as with Alfie’s show-stopping performance at The Queen’s Jubilee this summer, not only displays his vocal power but communicates his musical philosophy: that there are no boundaries in music. On that stage, a working-class singer from Fleetwood performed for the Royal Family at Buckingham Palace. Starting by gloriously serenading The Mall with the classic Neapolitan song ‘O Sole Mio’ which turned into, rather riotously, Elvis’s ‘It’s Now Or Never’: the same tune. It is therefore appropriate that Storyteller brings a change in repertoire, each song sung with that recognisable rich tone. And Presley’s hit song is, of course, represented here, in a new light.
2012 began with the ‘Alfie’ album, which shot to No.6 in the UK Pop Charts and quickly went Platinum, as had its predecessor, ‘Bring Him Home’. March saw Australia fall for him as he performed a string of dates with Olivia Newton-John at the Sydney Opera House. In addition to the Jubilee concert, the summer had him play a slew of sold-out outdoor shows in the UK, as well as appearing on the bill with Kylie at the BBC Proms in the Park. For most of dates on the summer tour, Alfie played with his five-piece band, performing songs by Roy Orbison (also represented here with ‘It’s Over’), Elvis and The Rolling Stones.
If this year was big for Alfie, 2013 looks set to be even bigger. Currently on tour (playing 19 shows) in America – where his 2011 Royal Festival Hall concert has been an enormous hit on the 354 PBS TV stations this summer – New York, Seattle and Chicago are already sold out. Following on, Alfie already has a UK arena tour in place for spring, including nights at The Royal Albert Hall. With this, and much more, in store, Fleetwood’s finest certainly has the world in his sights.