Tuesday, November 25, 2008

J.D.Souther at Nighttown Cleveland 19 November 2008

It was a wonderful night of songs and story telling as one of the architects of the California rock sound of the 70's J. D. Souther packed Nighttown for a solo show. I don't think anyone left disappointed after 21 songs plus 3 encores that covered his forty year career, as hits, near misses, and new ballads all sounded good.
Souther presented himself in a polished but laid back fashion, and he had the audience buying in to everything he did. He strolled on stage carrying a book he had been reading quietly at the bar beforehand. He's lost a bit of his range over the years, but the high parts still sound sincere, and his guitar and piano playing was simple but beautiful. He was witty without being over intellectual; he was political without being extreme or preachy.
He opened with "I'll be Here at Closing Time" off his new album "The World was You", a song reminiscent of Tom Waits. He was quite proud that you could by his new album in a double album on high quality vinyl. He did great versions of the songs he wrote or help write for the Eagles and Linda Ronstandt including "New Kid in Town," "Best of my Love," "Black Roses and White Rhythm and Blues," and "Prisoner in Disguise." Also included was "How Long," his 1972 composition that turned out to be the first single off the Eagles' 2007 release "Long Road out of Eden." Several gems off his 1979 "Only Lonely" album, included the title track and "The Last in Love" also stood out.
He enjoyed the night as much as the audience, reaching back to his very first album for "Lullaby" as the last encore, something he doesn't often do.
Opening for Souther was New York City singer/songwriter April Smith, who was everything an opening act should be: she was a good fit for the audience, she did a very good job, and she did not play too long. She's a short spunky woman who's in that 'not young any more but not showing her years yet' stage, and is a fine songwriter to boot. She did five originals and a cover of "Unchained Melody," with "To Tell You" and the "One Who Got Way" standing out.
For more on J. D. Souther and his music visit www.jdsouther.net. Nighttown will be featuring Christmas shows by jazz artists with local roots during December, including
Helen Welch, Kelly Chapman, and Joe McBride. Trumpet player extraordinaire Dominick Farinacci will be their New Year's Eve show. Visit www.nighttowncleveland.com for more information.

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