Rob Lester, "Sound Advice", www.talkinbroadway.com:
"This is a sweetheart of a CD. Debra Wagoner is very happy romantic company in her album 'The Hopeful Romantic' and the title gives you the idea that she likes to be in the company of love songs. The songstress has a warm, rich voice and presence. She's instantly likeable and unpretentious. Debra makes you comfortable, maybe because she sounds at ease with herself and the material. Opening her debut album with a bare-bones piano intro and a very thoughtfully phrased 'Love Is Here To Stay,' she caresses the Gershwins' melody and words. Once she accomplishes the goals of displaying her wares and letting us luxuriate in her honey voice and time-tested lyrics, unfurling them in conversational slow mo, she switches gears. Before more of this treatment could risk making herself or the listener complacent, the rhythm kicks in and she turns up the heat and the beat. Debra is a musical theater actress living in Virginia and performing around the country in lead roles. The album has a definite theatricality and naturally includes a few songs she did onstage. There's a lot of feeling coming through and it feels genuine, not showboating.
"She's been Cinderella in 'Into the Woods,' so she takes on 'No One Is Alone' which sits well in her voice. Communicating a sense of comfort, a big part of the agenda of this number, comes through well. The high point of the album for me is Jeanine Tesori's and Brian Crawley's 'Lay Down Your Head.' If a lullaby can be said to be powerful, this is it. The song is from the musical 'Violet,' another show she has performed, and she gets right inside the heart and soul of it. Debra is not afraid to be open emotionally or to open her mouth and wail...
"The best thing about this new album is that it introduces us to a singer who is rewarding to hear whether she's wrapping you up in warm, relaxed tones or belting a big finish. The clips you can hear on CD Baby by clicking on the cover above will let you sample less of the power and more of the pretty, but it's a pretty good start. Likewise, this album is a good start for a performer I'm glad to discover with you."--end column
Debra Wagoner is an award-winning actress and vocalist based in Richmond, Virginia. For years, audience members have been amazed by her vocal talents, and have always asked when her CD would be available. The answer is, "Right Now"!!
Debra's music is distinguished by the emotional commitment she devotes to every song she sings. The music is not simply sung, it is performed with every ounce of heart and soul she can muster. With inspired arrangements, created and executed masterfully by her dear friend Ron Barnett, each song contained on "The Hopeful Romantic" tells a passionate story.
"The Hopeful Romantic" is Debra's very first CD. We hope that you will enjoy it! Once you've had a chance to listen, come back and write a review!