by Joe Regan Jr.
Bistro and MAC Award winner Tanya Moberly has been doing a series of shows at Don’t Tell Mama for the past five months entitled “Songs I Feel Like Singing” with a different musician each month (Mark Janas, Sean Harkness, Steven Ray Watkins, and Ritt Henn,) and a different show each time. I finally caught up with Moberly November 8 on a show with Ritt Henn.
Moberly, who possesses an amazing vocal range, chose to sing several contemporary songs which are not usually done in cabaret. They were by songwriters Rick Nielson, Ani Di France, Amy Winehouse & Salaam Remi, Ricki Lee Jones, Meredith Brooks & Shelly Peiken, Shawn Colvin, Michels, Silverman, Adkins & Movshon, and Jimmy Page, Robert Plant & John Paul Jones, all dating from 1977 to 2013. From the moment she appeared on the stage and started to sing with Henn on the bass Nielsen’s “I Want You To Want Me,” which demonstrated her acting and vocal chops, you knew you were in for a very special show.
She did not say a word for the first four selections going from one to another without stop. When she finished, she did Dave Brubeck’s 1959 item, “Blue Rondo A La Turk” and when is the last time you heard that sung! She scatted all over the notes and it was astonishing. Later she did a crazy “Dat Dere” by Oscar Brown Jr. and Bobby Timmons, and a sweet “Trouble Child” by Joni Mitchell as well as a moving “I Can’t Get Started With You” by Vernon Duke and Ira Gershwin (even though she made the familiar joke about Ira). There was also a rain medley that was by two sets of the writers above.
The amazing finale was “Lush Life” with Henn on the ukulele! She spoke/sung the standard in a Brechtian way and it was mesmerizing to hear this much sung standard this way! A definite highlight in a great act. The sold out house stood up en masse!
Moberly and Mark Janas’ Salon series at Etc Etc continues through the rest of the year with some special holiday shows.
Moberly’s last show in the “Songs I Feel Like Singing: series this year is with Stephen Ray Watkins on Friday, November 20th at Don’t Tell Mama (212) 757-.0757 after 4PM Reservations strongly recommended