Review by Susan Hasho




Julie Budd has been a knockout singer since she was 12 years old and successful in many ways since. Her appearance Thursday, May 14, marks the beginning of her Artist in Residence tenure at the Metropolitan Room. She sang songs from her CD They Wrote the Songs, produced last year, and shared a passion for singing songs that range from older classics to more current songwriters like Charles Smalls (The Wiz) and Eric Clapton. It was a mixed bag of the Beatles, Sondheim, Michele Le Grand, Duke Ellington, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse.

Her performing style can be as varied as her choice of composers. She can be theatrical, singing Being Alive (Sondheim), hip and in sync in Love Me Do (Paul McCartney/John Lennon). She can surprise by singing This Nearly Was Mine and You’ll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers and Hammerstein) with subtlety and intimacy, leaving off the big finish to share a personal part of herself instead; and in tribute to Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse, she can pull out the stops and share all the love and respect she feels for these two writers, singing Who Can I Turn To, What Kind of Fool Am I, Once in a Lifetime and If I Ruled the World.

The glue that holds the evening together is Herb Bernstein, her musical director and lifelong musical friend. His arrangements are lush and exciting, always underpinning her voice with depth and support. And the other glue that binds the evening together is Julie Budd’s own indomitable ability to tell a story about her career or bring on a guest artist, stellar guitarist Sean Harkness to accompany her on Moon River and Eric Clapton’s If I Saw You in Heaven—with humor and great generosity.

Closing the show with the beautiful benediction of I’ll Be Seeing You (Fain/Kahal) she promises to be back September 10, October 21 and December 10. Put that in your calendar and don’t miss her!

Musical Director & Piano: Herb Bernstein, Synth & Keyboards: Art Weiss, Bass upright & Fender: John Burr, Drums: Ray Marchica. Orchestrations: Herb Bernstein, Peter Moore and Don Sebesky

The Metropolitan Room 34 West 22nd Street. For reservations, call 212-206-0440. For more information or to order tix online, visit www.metropolitanroom.com.

Photo: Russ Weatherford ‘Making the Rounds with Russ’