Hamilton Leithauser @ The Cafe Carlyle - New York City Article

Hamilton Leithauser @ The Cafe Carlyle

Hamilton Leithauser @ The Cafe Carlyle

Jan 18, 2018, 12:00 am

Hamilton Leithauser
The Café Carlyle
35 E 76th Street, (212) 744-1600
Through January 27

The 39-year-old singer-songwriter, a once and quite possibly future member of the indie rock group The Walkmen, writes songs that are catchy and memorable, particularly “A Thousand Times,” “Peaceful Morning,” “Wild Hunger,” and “In a Blackout.” In fact, he telegraphs his allegiance to his forebears, the major folk rock singer-songwriters of the 1960s by opening his debut show at the Carlyle with “Annie’s Going To Sing Her Song" by Tom Paxton, and, about halfway through, singing Leonard Cohen’s "Seems So Long Ago, Nancy." But what makes him a particularly good choice for the Carlyle is the way his songs sound in person. It’s not that his albums (the most recent is the 2016, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, with the producer and keyboardist Rostam) suffer from overly-slick studio production or anything like that, but in the intimate space of the Carlyle, with just two other musicians, (Paul Maroon and Matt Oliver, on guitars and piano) the songs sound much warmer and more personal. Like “When The Truth Is…’: on the album, you notice the recurring 16th note triplets, summoning memories of a high-class doowop group like The Flamingos, but in person, it sounds more like a lovely lyrical waltz. On the album, “Rough Going” is also more doowoppy with prominent voices and a notable baritone sax solo, but in person the going is much smoother and less rough. He closes with a line I’ve never once heard any headliner, from Bobby Short on sideways, ever utter at the Carlyle: “I live in the area, see you around.”

photo: David Andrako

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Author: Will Friedwald
Photography by: STEPHEN SOROKOFF

Author: Will Friedwald

Will Friedwald writes about music and popular culture for THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, VANITY FAIR and PLAYBOY magazine and reviews current shows for THE CITIVIEW NEW YORK. He also is the author of nine books, including the award-winning A BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU, STARDUST MELODIES, TONY BENNETT: THE GOOD LIFE, LOONEY TUNES & MERRIE MELODIES, and JAZZ SINGING. He has written over 600 liner notes for compact discs, received ten Grammy nominations, and appears frequently on television and other documentaries. He is also a consultant and curator for Apple Music.

New Books:

THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP VOCAL ALBUMS (Pantheon Books / Random House, November 2017)

SINATRA: THE SONG IS YOU - NEW REVISED EDITION (Chicago Review Press, May 2018)