For You Dear, Anything
"For You Dear, Anything" is the ambitious three act release of 2020. Act One is a modern take on the sounds from the darkest speakeasies. You can hear Cole Porter rise from the dead, see flappers messily apply lipstick and raise your glasses to the end of the saloon era, all in 15 minutes.
This first act is the introduction to Siegel's emotional exploits played out through the setting of prohibition. Spill a cocktail on the piano and kick the bench out from under the piano player. Give a toast to the death one hundred years past. Celebrate the 20s is fashionable heartbreak and drunken rebellion. Clean up well. Unbutton the collar. Let it down. This is reminiscing what you've never and always had.
by Ben Wendt, Ope! Radio
"I've been listening to Nick Siegel's new record "For You Dear, Anything" and wanted to say some things about it!
Right now many of us are doing a great deal of nostalgically looking-back as a means of escapism. Remember going out? Remember hearing live music while drinking a rye Manhattan with friends? A few weeks of isolation have suddenly caused your memory of New Year’s Eve to feel like it was a hundred years ago. That midnight champagne toast with your friends at that dive bar has gone through a metamorphosis and now you’re pretty sure that night looked an awful lot like a party at Jay Gatsby’s. “For You Dear, Anything” is a record so perfect for this specific moment it begs the question, can Nick Siegel see the future? The first installment of a trilogy that tells a century-long story, this EP is a fully-committed concept piece set in a bar in 1920. Siegel plays a piano man performing for a handful of ornery bar rats and a reserved bartender. The record boasts plucky piano-centric jaunts, a la Irving Berlin, and heart-in-a-blender lows that somehow manage to simultaneously call Cole Porter and Connor Oberst to mind. Generations have romanticized the 1920s as a Golden Era of music, literature, culture, and of America itself, and Siegel masterfully pulls the strings of the listener’s nostalgia in front of a modern backdrop that subtly states a heartbreaking truth: the good old days weren’t any more good than today. Two seconds into the record Siegel sings, “A hundred years since 1920, but love and time we’ve still got plenty.”
“Is that true?” a random bar patron interjects.
“Well, we got drinks,” Siegel obliges before the record takes off with the bouncy “Let’s Blouse!” In addition to a charming dancing drive, some of Siegel’s best work as a pianist is on display here in the twinkly lead lines. The bulk of the EP rips by as the tracks casually seam together, largely upbeat and glowing with the exception of the brooding “What the Hell?” which teases that perhaps this all has a darker underbelly.
When “Last Call” arrives, Siegel’s piano man informs the bar that he will be playing one final song. That song is “Anne Hathaway”, and it is a devastating curtain call. Siegel’s music is always genuine and often raw, but rarely does he let his guard down for an entire track like this. Slow, patient, and delicate, Siegel’s vocal performance is gentle but confident as the lyrics spill from his mouth, across a pillow, and into his lover’s ear. Perhaps the song is about Shakespeare’s Hathaway, perhaps it’s the more contemporary Oscar winner, or maybe she’s simply a ghost— something golden that was too good to last, someone who was never as perfect as memory makes her out to be. “So Anne Hathaway, be a dear and say the words you know will finish me off.” The piano stops unsanctimoniously, with little sense of closure. It stings, and certainly leaves the listener wondering what comes next.
"For You Dear, Anything" is available NOW on all major music platforms." -Ben Wendt, Ope! Radio