Chicago Tribune: Newman's "Standards Remain High, His Work Stellar" on "Harps and Angels"
Randy Newman continues his Harps and Angels tour in the Midwest this week, with stops in a different town each night. After tonight's show at the Center for the Performing Arts in Bloomington, Indiana, Randy will head to Waukegan, Illinois, north of Chicago, to play the Genesee Theatre tomorrow night.
Music critic Greg Kot previews the show in the Chicago Tribune's "Turn It Up" blog by assuring his readers that, with the new album, "Randy Newman is not living out the artistic decline spelled out in his 1999 song 'I’m Dead (But Don’t Know It),'" in which artists of a certain advanced age never learned to quit while they were ahead. "Even though that song’s narrator embodies many of Newman’s peers from the '60s and '70s," writes Kot, "the singer-songwriter himself has escaped a similar fate. His standards remain high, his work stellar ..."
Kot also attests that Randy's trademark wit hasn't suffered a bit over the years:
Instead of growing content and nostalgic, Newman remains at his acerbic best on Harps and Angels, his deceptively jaunty, blues-based, luminously orchestrated pop songs brimming with dark humor and pointed commentary that continues in the tradition of '70s classics such as "Sail Away," "Louisiana," and "Political Science."
In addition to those politically charged tunes, says Kot, Randy "can write a great love song if he puts his mind to it," noting the inclusion on the new record of "Feels Like Home," "one of the most tender and compassionate songs he has ever written."
Read the article at leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com.
There's also an interview with Randy in the nearby Mundelein Review, which contributor Robert Loerzel prefaces by stating: "The legendary singer-songwriter Randy Newman is back with a new album, Harps and Angels, and he's just as witty, insightful and tuneful as ever." Read the interview at pioneerlocal.com/mundelein.
After Illinois, the tour heads down to Kansas City, Missouri, where he'll play the Folly Theater on Saturday night. The Kansas City Star's Timothy Finn adds sad songs to the list of songwriting styles at which Randy excels. Finn, who writes that "some of his best songs are his sad songs," talks with Randy about the moving story behind "Losing You," as Randy does in an interview and performance video at nonesuch.com/media. You can join the ongoing viewer discussion about the song and its sentiments by leaving a comment there.
Randy, says Finn, "has been writing and recording songs for more than 40 years, and in that time he has accumulated one of the most diverse, sophisticated and idiosyncratic catalogs of any American songwriter."
Read the interview at kansascity.com.
On Sunday, this Midwest leg of the tour closes in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Hoyt Sherman Theatre. The Des Moines Register offers a report from J. Sharpe Smith, who returns to Randy's satirical side in his analysis of Harps and Angels, which he refers to as "an eye-opening piece of work with political undertones." Read the article at desmoinesregister.com.
For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.