By: Sandi Durell
With Carmine Giglio on piano and keyboard, Alexa Ray returned to the sumptuous Café Carlyle October 20th – –the room filled with friends and family (notably Mom, Christie Brinkley prominently seated in the audience), Alexa stating she was “happy to belong.” This time her hair was upswept and she wore a black dress covered by a white jacket with a BIG fur collar.
She’s not your everyday girl, as she has learned to express who she is in an au natural, this is who I am style, a necessity when you’re brought up by major celebrity parents. Dad, Billy Joel, has had a huge impact on her performance/writing skills as she talks about and sings many of his songs during the course of the evening, some while playing keyboard referring to those really difficult chords.
Opening with a parodied lyric to “Downtown,” now called “Uptown” – – “did you like that little spin on Downtown?” asks Alexa – – as she segues into Julie Styne’s “Let Me Entertain You” also branded with her own lyrics: my folks they’re rather grand (so grand), my Pop he rocks a City, my Mom’s so f….in’ pretty. . . .All I know is I love show biz. . .” and follows with one of her original’s, “Song of Yesterday” a bluesy Ray Charles meets Georgia Brown soul tune.
Her baby voiced renderings are smoky, squeaky, cutsey as she spends a lot of time talking about her Mom, who is always smiling, happy – a Zippidy Doo Da kinda gal who likes to video record her daughter wherever she may be. And so a little tribute medley “On The Sunny Side of the Street“/”Keep Young and Beautiful” expresses just how she interprets her famous mother. And there’s Alexa’s boyfriend to whom she gives a shout out as well followed by “He’s Got a Way.” Alexa shows a lot of heart, vocal freedom and connection to the powerful lyric of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”
The addition of self-penned “My New Selfie” (a reimagined “I Enjoy Being a Girl” – time for a refresher for the younger generation) and dedicated to her new sister Della Rose who has a selfie sense of humor. Let’s just say it’s a plethora of silliness that might work well in her living room surrounded by her friends.
Luckily, Alexa has the latitude and sense of entitlement that allows her to pursue her own singing/songwriting career which might fair better at one of the East Village haunts.
Alexa Ray Joel appears thru Oct. 31st www.thecarlyle.com 35 East 76th St. at Madison Ave. 212 744-1600