Upside Down Day
My new Nation column was called, at least in my own head, “Every Day is Upside Down Day” and you can find it here: https://www.thenation.com/article/the-medias-addiction-to-false-equivalencies-has-left-them-vulnerable-to-trump/
I was lucky enough to catch Joan Osborne’s return to the Café Carlyle this week with what she is calling “Part II’ of her show, “Joan Osborne Sings the Songs of Bob Dylan.” Joan did part one about a year ago and it was a pretty thrilling experience, especially since she was a) willing to dig deep into the catalog, and b) mess with the songs enough to make them her own.
As she did a year ago, she brought along Keith Cotton on keyboards and Jack Petruzzelli on guitar (and backup vocals) and only repeated two songs
“Gotta Serve Somebody” from “Slow Train Coming” and “Love Sick” from Time out of Mind. Both were highlights, as were her versions of “Quinn the Eskimo,” (the opener), “Ring Them Bells,” and “Masters of War,” which was implicitly about you-know-who. Her version of “Tangled Up in Blue” reminded us of why UNCUT recently picked that as Dylan’s second greatest composition, and “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” about the need to find room for that on my funeral playlist, but for me the highlight was “the semi-obscure “You’re going to Make Me Lonesome When You Go,” which, dare I say it, improved on the Bard’s version. She’ll be releasing an album of this work soon, bu in the meantime, if you’re rich, or need a celebratory evening, you can see her Carlyle show. She will be there through the 11th after which Suzanne Vega will be getting a chance at the big time in the small room. Tickets can be found here http://www.ticketmaster.com/Cafe-Carlyle-tickets-New-York/venue/338695?GCID=53416&keyword=_cat%3Aticketmaster.com&c=SEM_MAS_TM+_Google_DSA%20-%20Brand%20-%20Ticketmaster_Ticketmaster__cat%3Aticketmaster.com_1518081&gclid=CPGn6q2fuNICFUmHswodct4Diw
Also this week, I caught my first “American Songbook” show of the season. It was the old Stax artist, William Bell, backed by a big band put together by his producer, Jon Levanthal, and both were celebrating the American Grammy that the album they made together, 'This Is Where I Live' won a few days earlier. It was, amazingly, Bell’s first album in 40 years and thanks to Levanthal’s production, it sounds old and new at the same time. If you missed the cd—and you shouldn’t—you might know Bell from way-back-when hits like "Born Under A Bad Sign," "I Forgot To Be Your Lover," "Every Day Will Be Like A Holida,y” and the absolutely sublime "Private Number,” which he performed Friday night with the super-classy chanteuse, Catherine Russell. Both listeing to the cd, and watching a clearly thrilled Bell peforming at the Appel Room, it made me feel, once again, how much we are missing now that classic soul music in the Stax tradition has become so rare. Here’s hoping Bell’s Grammy sparks at least a mini-revival. You can find the rest of the American Songbook schedule here: https://americansongbook.org/