LIVE: Kat Edmonson @ The Egg, 10/15/15
Review by Greg Haymes
She’s a petite woman with a small voice but a huge talent.
Kat Edmonson made her overdue Albany debut at The Egg last month, and it was one of the most intimate, intoxicating performances that the Swyer Theatre has ever hosted – despite the fact that the theater was only about one-third full.
During her all-too-short 65-minute show the Brooklyn-based (by way of Austin and Houston) singer deftly walked the tightrope between jazz and pop, between vulnerability and steely strength. While her latest album, The Big Picture, is often – and quite appropriately – awash in lush, wide-screen production, at The Egg her performance was pared down to the minimal bare musical bones, accompanied only by acoustic guitarist Bob Hart and the oh-so-subtle percussionist Aaron Thurston (whose entire arsenal was a bass drum, snare, hi-hat and glockenspiel). In fact, the songs sounded so different that they were almost unrecognizable.
What held them all together was the distinctive voice of Edmonson, who seems to crawl inside her songs and imbued them with more than a bit of that classic Billie Holiday heartache.
And of course the power of the great song is its ability to be performed in a variety of settings. And Edmonson – whose 2009 debut album, Take to the Sky, was dominated by exquisite interpretations of jazz standards – has developed into a stellar songwriter. “The Best” (which she described as “a song that I dreamed that Paul McCartney would write for me”) and the sassy kiss-off blues “You Said Enough” were just two examples of her songwriting skills.
She also has pretty good taste in opening acts. The mono-monikered Milton warmed up the crowd with a scant half hour of solo songs veering from the jazzy swing of “In My Dreams” to the relaxed lope of “Sister of the Virgin Sky.” When Edmonson invited him back onstage during her show to duet with her on his topsy-turvy tune ‘”Ain’t Been the Same,” she called him “a modern day Cole Porter.”
KAT EDMONSON SET lIST
What Else Can I Do
Nobody Knows That
Oh My Love
Long Way Home
I’m Not in Love
Rainy Day Woman
Ain’t Been the Same (Milton) (with Milton)
All the Way
You Said Enough
MILTON SET LIST
Her Place Uptown
In My Dreams
Fly in the Night
Sister of the Virgin Sky
In the City