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Randy Newman's NYC Show Earns Him Comparisons to Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan in Time Out, Village Voice

  • Monday, March 7, 2011
    Randy Newman's NYC Show Earns Him Comparisons to Stephen Sondheim, Bob Dylan in Time Out, Village Voice

    Randy Newman color sofa

    Randy Newman's North American tour brought the Grammy and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter to the New York area over the weekend with performances at the Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York, The Town Hall in New York City, and the Scottish Rite Theatre in Collingswood, New Jersey. Nonesuch will release the second volume of the Randy Newman Songbook on May 10.

    Time Out New York picks up on that idea, calling his repertoire for Saturday's show in New York City as "the Great American Songbook."

    Newman "is perhaps more well-rounded a songwriter than even his fans concede," writes Time Out music critic Jay Ruttenberg. "His every word does not drip irony. His children’s songs and ballads fulfill their mission as thoroughly as his satires: See, for example, 'Losing You,' a 2008 tearjerker (from the magnificent Harps and Angels) that already has been recorded by Mavis Staples and Neil Diamond."

    Ruttenberg places Newman in some rather rarefied songwriting company. "The Town Hall is across the street from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, whose namesake," Ruttenberg explains, "along with Bob Dylan, gives this great American songwriter his only real competition."

    The reviewer notes the Dylan comparison as well for his recent output of recordings revisiting songs from his past, as Newman did on the first volume of his Songbook and does so again on the forthcoming second volume. The comparison is made in Newman's favor. "The Newman series defers entirely to the songs: three-minute masterpieces from throughout a half-century career."

    Ruttenberg explains: "The CD series provides an experience a lot like watching Newman onstage. He is a living songbook, a flood of emotions channeled through his work. And in a few choice bits, his various components—comedian, historian, balladeer, limousine liberal—gel into one perfect whole."

    Read the complete review at newyork.timeout.com.

    ---

    The Village Voice says the songs in the Town Hall set "were as relevant and mordantly funny and wrenching as they've ever been. And Newman," writes reviewer Sean Fennessey, "was in good voice all night, strong and tough at times, weary and appropriately broken at others."

    Fennessey describes Newman as "a real old-fashioned entertainer," saying "few songwriters are capable of drifting between cynicism and sentiment with such grace."

    He too finds an apt comparison in a certain well-known songwriter, admitting this critical bias: "I'm fairly certain Randy Newman is the greatest living songwriter not named something that rhymes with Smob Smylan."

    Read the review at villagevoice.com.

    ---

    Next up on Newman's tour are three dates in Colorado, with stops this week in Boulder, Aspen, and Avon. For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    To pick up a copy of Songbook, Vol. 1 and Harps and Angels, visit the Nonesuch Store. Check back with the Nonesuch Journal in the coming weeks for news to pre-order Songbook, Vol. 2.

on March 8, 2011 - 4:00pm
Excerpt: 

Randy Newman's North American tour brought the singer-songwriter to the New York area for several performances, including Saturday's show at The Town Hall in New York City. Time Out New York exclaims: "The Town Hall is across the street from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, whose namesake, along with Bob Dylan, gives this great American songwriter his only real competition." The Village Voice concurs, calling him "the greatest living songwriter not named something that rhymes with Smob Smylan."

Copy: 

Randy Newman's North American tour brought the Grammy and Oscar-winning singer-songwriter to the New York area over the weekend with performances at the Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York, The Town Hall in New York City, and the Scottish Rite Theatre in Collingswood, New Jersey. Nonesuch will release the second volume of the Randy Newman Songbook on May 10.

Time Out New York picks up on that idea, calling his repertoire for Saturday's show in New York City as "the Great American Songbook."

Newman "is perhaps more well-rounded a songwriter than even his fans concede," writes Time Out music critic Jay Ruttenberg. "His every word does not drip irony. His children’s songs and ballads fulfill their mission as thoroughly as his satires: See, for example, 'Losing You,' a 2008 tearjerker (from the magnificent Harps and Angels) that already has been recorded by Mavis Staples and Neil Diamond."

Ruttenberg places Newman in some rather rarefied songwriting company. "The Town Hall is across the street from the Stephen Sondheim Theatre, whose namesake," Ruttenberg explains, "along with Bob Dylan, gives this great American songwriter his only real competition."

The reviewer notes the Dylan comparison as well for his recent output of recordings revisiting songs from his past, as Newman did on the first volume of his Songbook and does so again on the forthcoming second volume. The comparison is made in Newman's favor. "The Newman series defers entirely to the songs: three-minute masterpieces from throughout a half-century career."

Ruttenberg explains: "The CD series provides an experience a lot like watching Newman onstage. He is a living songbook, a flood of emotions channeled through his work. And in a few choice bits, his various components—comedian, historian, balladeer, limousine liberal—gel into one perfect whole."

Read the complete review at newyork.timeout.com.

---

The Village Voice says the songs in the Town Hall set "were as relevant and mordantly funny and wrenching as they've ever been. And Newman," writes reviewer Sean Fennessey, "was in good voice all night, strong and tough at times, weary and appropriately broken at others."

Fennessey describes Newman as "a real old-fashioned entertainer," saying "few songwriters are capable of drifting between cynicism and sentiment with such grace."

He too finds an apt comparison in a certain well-known songwriter, admitting this critical bias: "I'm fairly certain Randy Newman is the greatest living songwriter not named something that rhymes with Smob Smylan."

Read the review at villagevoice.com.

---

Next up on Newman's tour are three dates in Colorado, with stops this week in Boulder, Aspen, and Avon. For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

To pick up a copy of Songbook, Vol. 1 and Harps and Angels, visit the Nonesuch Store. Check back with the Nonesuch Journal in the coming weeks for news to pre-order Songbook, Vol. 2.

Publish date: 
Monday, March 7, 2011 - 09:55
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Randy Newman color sofa

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