[OutVoice] Journey of a Wordsmith CD Release Party review by Jed Ryan
enterrytainer at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 28 22:27:38 EST 2006
I wanted to share this review of my CD Release Party in November written by Jed Ryan!
Thanks for your support, Jed! www.http://JedRyan.com.
THE JOURNEY OF A WORDSMITH, with TERRY CHRISTOPHER as your guide!
A good deal of Terry Christopher's audience at Center Stage on the night of Wednesday, November 15th were his peers in the independent New York City music scene, many of whom Mr. Christopher has creatively conspired with in the past. Their support was, no doubt, a reciprocation of the artist's strong affinity for community cohesion within the indy music scene. The rest of the audience were a motley crew of all ages and races, and they were clearly aficionados of a wide variety of musical styles. It's no mystery why. Terry Christopher's music may derive from a wide variety of influences, including pop, rock, R&B, and dance-- but the end result has a broad-reaching mass appeal. Make that "mass appeal with an edge."
This night was the CD Release Party for "Journey of a Wordsmith", Terry Christopher's long-gestating sophomore album. The performance venue Center Stage (at 48 West 21st Street, btwn 5th and 6th Aves) is essentially a big black box. But Christopher's colorful persona, set against this unadorned background, was like the equivalent of being bewitched by a Picasso painting hung on a plain black wall. In other words, with talent like this, who needs frills? Speaking of talent, Christopher was backed by two friends and fellow musicians, Morry Campbell and Roger Kuhn. Morry Campbell proves himself to be one of the most skilled guitarists in the Big Apple, and Roger Kuhn brings his unique voice to the show for background vocals. Another of Christopher's colleagues, activist/filmmaker/music guru Wolfgang Busch, did the sound for the night. For the show's opener, "Elevation", Terry's blue-eyed soulful voice, with touches of Kuhn's distinctively deep tones, formed an
intriguing contrast. Right away, Terry Christopher also showed that he is a singer who cares as much about his visual presentation as he does about the music. For "Elevation", Christopher chose to take a "pop-rock-dance" track and strip it down, making it more organic. Next up was an environmental awareness song, "This Will Not Be the Way". In this era of increased awareness of global warming, this illuminating track could not be more timely. "This Will Not Be the Way" would make a perfect opening or closing track (sorry Melissa!) for the movie "An Inconvenient Truth". And, for this number, Terry shows that he can really belt! "Tell Me Tell Me" packs a pounding pop punch, while "Torch" and "Slither" musically represent different shades of desire. "Torch" recreates the hunger and urgency that reminds one of the hurts-so-good torment of the 1986 Gene Loves Jezebel hit "Desire", while "Slither" musically recreates the mirage of serpentine movements to evoke the
feeling of lust. "Slither" also featured some exceptional guitar work by Campbell.
The moving "Tears in the Dirt" was Christopher's "token ballad". Actually, the song will remind the listener of the very popular "power ballad" genre of the '80's, although there was indeed a timeless quality about its presentation and lyrics:
"I ask myself too often, what is this all worth,
Is it necessary for love to have this much pain and hurt;
And I feel alone in this, that you are doin' fine,
You seem oblivious this harvest is dying on the vine;
And I ask myself again why I allow us this way,
Do I hang for the company, avoid loneliness each day;
But you get all the treasure while I do all the work,
Maybe you like seeing my tears in the dirt..."
After that, Terry Christopher took a breather and let pal Morry Campbell perform one of Campbell's own songs, the gem "Long Long Way Home", a song on my Top 10 Greatest Songs list for 2006. Terry stated that this song actually made him cry when he had first heard it. He requested to the audience, "Close your eyes and listen to this!" Indeed, so many different meanings can be interpreted. What is the "long long way" of the title? Actual mileage? Emotional distance? Time? Hmmm... Terry returned for "Breathless", a real crowd-pleaser. Then, Christopher dabbled in the blues for a song called, appropriately enough, "Green Bottle Blues". Christopher originally debuted the track last year at a showcase at the now closed CBGB; the song was inspired by his chance meeting with a lonely old drunk on a train who was holding two bottles of Heineken. Then came "Brothers in Arms, Sister Soldiers", one of Christopher's most emblematic tracks, and an instant classic anthem
for LGBT equality. Christopher was rejoined by Roger Kuhn for the finale, "One True Friend".
In his live music, Terry Christopher doesn't falter on a single note. His performances are ingratiating to his audience without being pretentious, polished without being prefab, and heartfelt without being overly earnest (Too much earnestness is always a fatal flaw with acoustic performances!)
On November 15th, Terry Christopher proved that "Journey of a Wordsmith" is a journey worth taking!
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