Strip entertainer Olivia Newton-John releases new CD
“I’m waking up this morning grateful for the gift of one more day /the light of hope is dawning / it fills my heart and lifts my fears away / sometimes there’s a miracle just beyond the pain /you can see the rainbow in the rain.”
Loss hurts. Love endures. Life remains. As the lady sings:
“Live on, live on / brighter skies will come again / cry the tears you cry and then / live on, live on / love is all we leave when we are gone / live on.”
Popular music, at its best, is a sublime contradiction: personal and universal. Often it swoons over romance—the heart blossoming, the heart breaking, the heart mending. Yet it isn’t only those relationships that can make the heart weep and the soul sob, and it’s those pains—and joy regained—to which Olivia Newton-John now turns.
“There is very little to no music for people going through grief,” says the Aussie chanteuse, whose newly released CD, LIV ON (as in oLIV-ia newtON-John) yields the single “Live On” and provides new material recently integrated into her resident Vegas production, Summer Nights. Along with collaborators Beth Nielsen Chapman and Amy Sky, Newton-John tackles a sensitive issue that touches all of us, the project triggered by the hurt in her own heart.
“The songs were inspired, if I can use that word, by the loss of my sister three years ago,” she says of Rona, her sibling who was taken by brain cancer.
“We shared so much together, think of all the mountains we have climbed /sorrow, joy and laughter woven through the tapestry of time / even as we’re letting go we will not lose faith.”
Loved ones departing our lives may be the most readily identifiable pain the music speaks to—but not the only one. “It’s about moving through and living on, but it doesn’t have to be a person—it can be your pet, it can be your job, it can be any kind of loss we go through as human beings,” Newton-John says. “They are songs about the different levels of grief.”
Attempting to provide comfort—which, though heartfelt, can often feel futile and inadequate to well-meaning friends—is also addressed in tracks including “My Heart Goes Out To You” and “Don’t Know What to Say.” At its core, however, the CD aims to be a balm to the soul of those left with a hole in their heart—one that shrinks over time, but forever remains.
“One song is ‘Stone in My Pocket,’” Newton-John says. “Because whether it’s a family member or a friend or a pet that’s gone, you always carry around some of that grief with you. You might hear something, or someone might say something and you immediately think of them. Sometimes it’s a boulder in your pocket, sometimes it’s a stone.”
“All the precious memories we make / live on, live on / in the hearts of those we touch, all the dreams inside of us /live on, live on / love is all we leave when we are gone / live on, you’ve got to live on.”
In Summer Nights, Olivia Newton-John revisits her enormous hit catalog in a voice that over the decades has lost not a whit of its ethereal sweetness and emotional intimacy. She’ll ask if you’ve never been mellow. She’ll tell you that she honestly loves you. She’ll get physical with you. And yes, she’ll declare you’re the one that she wants.
Now add a new element of inspiration, elegantly expressed.
“Live on / in every heart of those we touch / in every dream that means so much / live on.”
Flamingo, 7:30 p.m. Tues.-Sat., starting at $69, $299 meet and greet, plus tax and fee. 702.777.2782