Terrie Richards Alden/Howard Alden: Love

The upside of Love (Nagel-Heyer CD 071; 56:33) is the spectacular guitar work of Howard Alden. The downside is the lackluster presence of his wife, Terrie Richards Alden. It’s not that she’s a bad singer. She is, in fact, a consummate professional, with focused control and above-average intonation. Trouble is, she is completely void of emotion. It’s not surprising to learn that she spent five years shaping her skills at Disneyland’s Village Lounge. Her dispassionate style is perfectly suited to the one-size-fits-all philosophy of theme parks. How, I have to wonder, is it possible to serve up “Gone With the Wind” without at least a sliver of sadness or fail to imbue “Miss Otis Regrets” with even the tiniest hint of regret? There’s no joy in “Just in Time,” no spark in “Skylark” and “Travelin’ Light” comes with absolutely no emotional baggage. Alden needs to loosen up and allow the lyrics to make that vital journey from head to heart. If she would, the results could, and should, be incredible.