Composer/performer Gabriel Kahane, best known as the songsmith behind Craigslistlieder and various theatrical works, was trotting out his indie side last night at Littlefield, celebrating the release of his second LP, Where are the Arms. Backed by a large band including Grey McMurray on guitar, drummer Ted Poor and a full string quartet, his voice exhibited a more mature, burnished quality since I last saw him - particularly on the title track, where he sounded like mournful Irish folksinger.
Gabe will be taking the band on the road with him for the next few weeks to promote the new album. Meanwhile classical commissions from all over, including the Kronos Quartet, who will premiere his The Red Book later this season, and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, who made him their Composer-in-Residence for the next two seasons. And, in May, the Public Theater will premiere Gabe's full length musical, February House. Busy guy.
Opening last night was the impressive Elizabeth and the Catapult, fronted by pianist/guitarist/singer Elizabeth Ziman: another classically-trained artist whose confessional lyrics (from her LP The Other Side of Zero) were delivered with raw emotion and power. After bringing a friend onstage to sing harmony on "Thank You for Nothing" - recountig the tale of a painful breakup - she literally broke down in the middle, relieved only when her friend poured water down her throat. The kind of stuff you'll never hear on any album.
More pics on the photo page.