Rarely have we seen a cabaret artist so engaging; he opened his act by pointing out the similarities between his country and ours--we all sugarcoat the blacker episodes of our histories. A medley of songs including the heartbreaking "Strange Fruit" was followed by Gershwin's "Summertime", sung as we have never heard it before.
Perhaps you have heard Marlene Dietrich sing "JOHNNY wenn du Geburtstag hast" but if you haven't heard Mr. Smith sing it you are in for a treat. Nancy Sinatra's rendition of "Bang Bang, You Shot Me Down" is nothing like Mr. Smith's. Likewise for Edith Piaf's "Padam, Padam". Not to mention Elvis Costello's "Radio Radio". Everything Mr. Smith sings sounds original and one feels as if one has never heard it before.
This compelling entertainer can do just fine unamplified with nothing but a piano as accompaniment; but we will go on record that his band played as well as he sang and added to the performance. Benjamin Ickies played some wild accordion and synthesizer, Clifton Hyde played the guitar and the bass was provided by Alana Dawes.
Mr. Smith's highly stylized performance complements his fine musicianship and compelling voice. If you missed the show you can catch him tonight at 11:00 at the McKittrick Hotel or you can hear his new hit album "NOVA".
© meche kroop