by: Susan Hasho
Lance Horne knows a lot of people and a lot of people are his friends, often stay in his house and work with him on musical projects. This may be true for many songwriter/singers, but Mr. Horne’s evening March 31st at Birdland, called Lance Horne & Friends with Alan Cumming, Rachel Dratch and Alice Ripley, impressed me with the fluidity and creativity of these relationships. I don’t know Mr. Horne but after much research into his musical background and the music itself—and after seeing the show—I feel confident in saying that he is an artist that has a unique way with a lyric and melody; and an ability to sing it beautifully himself, or give it away with grace to one of his very talented friends. He is interested in writing music that “engages you unexpectedly.” Hal Prince let him intern for him the day after he graduated from high school and he “sharpened pencils, ran errands for Betty Buckley, Scott Schwartz and met friends and colleagues with whom I still work to this day.” He is a very talented man who is committed to an international, multifaceted life of music and performing, and who has created a great artistic community for himself.
He performed as the star of Jim Caruso’s Monday night series called Broadway at Birdland and brought many people to the stage to sing his songs. Lance and Alice Ripley opened the evening with a duet of End of the Future. Stephen Wallen sang What Happens to Your Grinder When You Die?—a question concerning cell phone use from the grave and afterlife. JD Webster sang a cheerful, bopping along song from the new musical Almondine about an intrasex hero/heroine who has just fallen in love with a princess. Lance sang Tell Me the Truth About Love with a beautiful whistle solo. The inimitable Lea DeLaria sang Hurry Up and Take Your Time from Horne’s new musical Strip. Lance sang his song Strange Bird, a haunting mystery of a song. Rachel Dratch (of SNL fame) sang I Want to Live as Long as the Downton Abbey Dog—enough said, it’s funny. And, and…Alan Cumming performed American – a sharp, acerbic portrait of America and Americans—a stunning song performed with such honesty and focus, that I looked it up on YouTube later and found Cumming performing it there. Alice Ripley closed out the evening with a song Lance Horne wrote on a plane ride on fire. He landed safely and got an anthem out of it—Last Day on Earth.
Lance Horne is clearly an artist to watch and follow. And you need to meet his friends, too.
The band included Matt Aronoff on bass, John Bollinger on drums and Yair Evnineon cello. This very special concert included highlights from Horne’s debut album First Things Last, and several world premieres, including a sneak peek into The Night Before My Wedding, Mr. Horne’s collaboration with Neil Gaiman.
The Broadway at Birdland concert series takes place every Monday night at 7pm. Birdland is located at 315 West 44 Street in New York City. http://www.Birdlandjazz.com