By Sandi Durell
Ann Hampton Callaway is an entertainer’s entertainer! She’s unafraid when it comes to tackling new sounds and songs so long as they express what she feels in her heart and shares the magic with her audience.
And so the premier of The Linda Ronstadt Songbook filled with fun and guts and sprinkled with the sultry jazzy intonations that only Ms. Callaway can bring to a song.
Throughout the evening the revved up audience not only got to hear the best of Linda Ronstadt, but learned a lot about the iconic artist who revolutionized pop music beginning in the 60s, forming her band The Stone Poneys with Bobby Kimmel, earning a coveted title of Top Female Pop Singer in the 70s, with a rock n’ roll image as famous as her music. She was one of the most successful female recording artists in U.S. history and opened the door for women in rock n’ roll and other genres.
It takes an extraordinary musician-singer to bring Ronstadt’s incredible history and music to life . . . and Ann Hampton Callaway is that person, moving from ballads (“Long, Long Time” – music/lyrics Gary B. White) – “Heart Like a Wheel” (music/lyrics Anna McGarrigle) a song Ann describes as Ronstadt’s core; and harmonically perfection duet with pianist Billy Stritch “Don’t Know Much” (music/lyrics Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Tom Snow) to pop rock “When Will I Be Loved” (music/lyrics Phil Everly) to “That’ll Be The Day” (music/lyrics Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison). A powerful “What’s New?” (music/lyrics Johnny Burke & Bob Haggart) was riveting, with the iconic “Desperado” (music/lyrics Glen Frey, Don Henley) closing out the joyful evening.
Probably one of Ronstadt’s most well known songs “Somewhere Out There” (music/lyrics James Horner, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil) was exceptionally executed by Callaway and Stritch.
The new much thinner Ms. Callaway was radiant in her era dressing of flowing fuschia blouse over black short shirt with boots accompanied by the always impeccable Billy Stritch on piano and as musical director, along with Bob Mann on guitar (Linda Ronstadt’s arranger), Martin Wind on bass and Tim Horner on drums. But most important is that, like Linda, Ann Hampton Callaway remains a diverse artist of great talent always willing to share her joys, sorrows and heart.
Ann Hampton Callaway, www.Feinstein’s/54Below.com
254 West 54 Street (cellar), NYC 646 476-3551 remaining shows
September 21 and 22 at 7 pm