Linda Eder

April 18, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

“All of Me”

Feinstein’s at Loews Regency  –  April 6 – 17

For several years, this Minnesota country girl could have made the case that she possesses vocal confidence and horsepower second to none. In her recent engagement at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency, Linda Eder proved her case once again. Added to her impressive pipes, she has a dramatic flair, building a song with tension and holding notes with the ease of an athlete. Accompanied by a robust quintet, Eder delivered some intriguing arrangements with little touches that turned the song subtly on its side. For example, the racing delivery of “Charade” (Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer), with Peter Calo’s versatile guitar, gave Eder’s natural country/pop reading a unique mid-West/mid-European aura.

Eder set the bar high in the opening song, a smooth, resonant rendition of “I Will Wait For You” (Michel Legrand and Norman Gimbel) and she sent the audience home with “Gold,” written by former husband, Frank Wildhorn, and Nan Knighton for Camille Claudel. Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cuden’s Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde launched Eder on her own yellow brick road to concert halls and recording studios. Although the marriage ended, she still performs Wildhorn’s songs, which suit her so well.

On the evening I saw the show there was an unfortunate sound blackout early in the program. Eder is a powerful singer but laid-back with her patter and she was thrown just a tad off course. However, does she really need a microphone to project compellingly? She perched herself on the piano and after several moments of aimless patter, musical director and pianist Billy Stein began to vamp a tune. Eder got the hint and began a most tender rendition of “If I Could” by Martha Vanessa Sharron, Kenny Hirsch, and Ronald Norman Miller. The song is a sensitive message from parent to child telling him:

“If I could, I would help you

Make it through the hungry years

But I know that I can never cry your tears

But I would, if I could.”

It was the strongest moment in the show. Eder, known for a rich-textured voice that could reach outside Feinstein’s to Park Avenue, is equally effective with a simple small song. She is a parent and identified naturally with the intent of the lyrics and she communicated the sentiment. It was not a song that had to be acted; it just had to be felt.

The technical glitch was eventually fixed, the amplified sound came back and the show continued as scheduled.

Eder chose film soundtracks as her evening’s theme, including “Help” (John Lennon and Paul McCartney), proving that it’s a catchy tune even when sung as a ballad. “Theme from Valley of the Dolls” (André and Dory Previn) was phrased meticulously, and “Falling Slowly” (Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová), from the film Once, featured Eden’s harmonic vocalizing with versatile musician Allison Cornellruns.

Eder is tethered to her influences of Judy Garland and, especially, Barbra Streisand. The good part is that she’s studied the best. The other side—well, she isn’t Garland or Streisand. She lacks the vulnerability and fragility of Judy Garland and she does not articulate like Streisand. She is Linda Eder, though, and that’s pretty damn fine, but despite the show’s title, “All of Me,” she still seems to struggle to let us see much beyond the flawless intonation and pitch-perfect vocal richness. The closest she came that evening was the unscheduled “If I Could.”

 

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