Music Assessment: Grace Cosgrove Channels Laura Nyro at the Metropolitan Room

September 20th, 2013

Michelle V. Agins/The New York Occasions

Grace Cosgrove channeled Laura Nyro in her demonstrate “To Laura With Love” at the Metropolitan Place on Wednesday night.

To enter the planet of the singer-songwriter Laura Nyro is to open a time capsule evoking the concentrated appears, sights and turbulence of New York City in the late sixties. The voice guiding them was the wail of an emotionally unguarded younger girl touched with genius, who was nonetheless in her teens when she composed several of her most popular music.

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Although listening to Grace Cosgrove sing Nyro’s catalog in her present “To Laura With Love” at the Metropolitan Area on Wednesday evening, I had a lot of you-are-there times, picturing Nyro, who died at forty nine in 1997, as a colorfully attired, hippie avenue princess, dancing down Broadway in a trance. Nyro’s fusions of folks, R&ampB, jazz and present tunes ended up kaleidoscopic blasts of sensation that disregarded the rules of conventional songwriting to go wherever their turbulent thoughts carried them.

Ms. Cosgrove, who was accompanied by piano, bass, guitar and two backup singers, does not have Nyro’s vocal clout. The a single singer to come near to capturing that audio has been Rickie Lee Jones. But Ms. Cosgrove projected a deep knowing of Nyro’s music lyrics, most of which were the expressions of a excellent, rebellious teenager breaking free of charge of all constraints to assert herself, whatsoever the cost.

The material was divided into sections. Wild euphoria (“Stoned Soul Picnic, “Sweet Blindness”) gave way to the agonized responses of a susceptible passionate. It ended with reflections on dying. The strongest area, throughout which Ms. Cosgrove steadily received in self-assurance, was a sequence of songs excoriating male fecklessness. The crowning number, “Eli’s Comin’ ” is an alarmed warning to each and every girl in sight that a heartbreaker has been noticed in the vicinity and must be prevented at all costs the fox is about to enter the henhouse.

Of all the woman singer-songwriters who came of age in the late sixties, Nyro was the most overtly feminist. Women and kids occupy one particular facet of the enjoying area, and guys the other, and coexistence, nevertheless tempting, is perilous. The reality that Ms. Cosgrove is over forty is a signal that Nyro’s tunes, nonetheless “young,” nonetheless talk to the second.

Grace Cosgrove performs yet again on Sept. 29 and Oct. seventeen at the Metropolitan Area, 34 West 22nd Avenue, Flatiron district (212) 206-0440,

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