Thursday, August 4, 2011

08/03/11 Emi Meyer & Adam Levy

Emi Meyer, a singer-songwriter came to Deepwells to perform her jazz compositions for Acoustic Long Island. Emi, a tall willowy understated performer was simply radiant onstage seated behind a Yamaha digital piano. Her voice was mellifluous. Her phrasing captured all the essential elements of jazz performers that have preceded her. Her piano playing was very much in the jazz tradition. Each of her songs are intelligently designed and well crafted. Yet it was one particular song that she co-wrote regarding the mean streets of New York that really connected with her audience. It’s difficult for a performer to do both interesting things on the piano and with her voice at the same time, either one or the other must be subordinated, but I had a sense that if she were to let go of the piano, walk up to the mike and really belt one out that she would reach that wow level that lingers in the background of every one of her songs. The fact that she is multilingual and sings as beautifully in both Japanese and English positions her to be a true crossover artist in a multicultural world. She has a great future ahead of her.

Adam Levy comes from a storied background of having written for and performed with Nora Jones. His minimalist guitar playing was thankfully augmented by his accompanist, an inspired slide guitarist. His songs are highly introspective and personal. His tender song, Promised Land, an ode to his grandma Jenny, a closeted singer-performer piano player, got the greatest applause. No Dancing, a song about a New York bar that had been recently closed down due to complaints from a testy unreasonable neighbor who detested bars and dancing captured the comic-tragic nature of any business trying to prosper in New York. His song The Heart Collector, that seemed to channel Tom Waits, captured the dark undercurrent of all the broken hearted that people that litter the landscape. A native Californian, he gave voice to the natural beauty of that state that has always represented the last frontier in America in A Promise to California. Given the long list of accomplished performers that Adam Levy has worked with over the years, he is more songwriter than singer-song writer. But that’s fine. Anyone who can make a living in the music business can count himself among the lucky elite.

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