Tim Crouch, Mare Winningham, Dennis Crouch



By Sandi Durell


My most recent encounter with actress, singer-songwriter Mare Winningham was at the Public Theater in the award winning The Girl From The North Country (Conor McPherson/Bob Dylan) and her memorable performance as the mentally challenged wife Elizabeth. That remarkable production will now open on Broadway in February 2020 previews.

That aside, her debut at Café Carlyle follows that of another award winning country folk singer Wynonna Judd just a couple of weeks ago. A new tradition for the famous boite?

There’s nothing hidden in a performance by Mare Winningham . . . she’s quiet, low key-styled, an honest singer possessing an unassuming manner and delivery of the numerous self-penned songs that tell all her poignant stories. Her voice is clear, crisp, sweet and flows with silky perfection opening with Buffy Sainte-Marie’s “Piney Wood Hills.” Mare plays a variety of instruments including piano, guitar and dulcimer during the 90 minutes she and her fine musicians – Tim Crouch (on fiddle, mandolin and guitar) and brother Dennis Crouch (on bass) offer up.


Mare Winningham

Insightful stories about her childhood, learning to sing at the age of nine in her backyard just listening to country music, a son (a poet who brings his poetry to her for which she writes music) and daughter (songwriter Calla Louise – “Vampire”) bring this Academy Award nominee’s life into focus. She’s garnered many awards like eight Emmy nominations and appeared in numerous films Mildred Pierce and Hatfields & McCoys and is on guitar singing “Hard Times” from the film Georgia. There’s a long list of films in her wheelhouse. And she’s appeared on and off Broadway garnering many added awards (Casa Valentina, 10 Million Miles, Tribes).


Tim Crouch, Mare Winningham, Dennis Crouch


Expect an evening of soulful, mostly sad songs – a country music tradition – including her Country Jewess or “Jewgrass” song (yes, she converted), the pairing of her own Valley of the Dry Bones and Tanhum Portnoy’s Etz Chaim – which she sings in Yiddish – part of the release of four albums of original material. You’ll also hear a more upbeat Patty Griffin’s “Makin’ Pies,” Kurt Cobain’s “All Apologies”(a love song she’s been practicing) and Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”

Photos: David Andrako


Mare Winningham is at Café Carlyle (35 East 76 Street at Madison Ave) thru November 2 – Ticketweb