This is Steve Tyrell’s 15th year at the Carlyle, and every time I walk out – invariably feeling better than when I walked in (not that I was even feeling bad to begin with) – I leave feeling not that I’ve just been to a concert, but that I’ve just had a warm and friendly holiday dinner with my family. The sentiment factor is built in, and it’s always effective; it’s always a highly-satisfying meal of musical comfort food. This year, he’s celebrating the decade and a half at the Carlyle with a retrospective of previous shows and albums, including “This Guy’s in Love with You” and “I Say a Little Prayer” from his Bach to Bacharach set, which was my favorite of his albums until the 2018 A Song for You (which includes the wonderful “To Be Loved,” also heard at the Carlyle), since Tyrell singing Bacharach is like hearing a man speak in his native language. He gave us an advance preview of his forthcoming Ray Charles tribute album Shades of Ray (I’m just glad he didn’t call it “Fifty Shades of Ray”), including Percy Mayfield’s “Danger Zone” and Eddy Arnold’s “You Don’t Know Me.” (Though I have to confess the latter whetted my appetite for the album I have always wanted him to do of great Country Music standards. After all, he is from Texas.) He’s never disappointing, although I was surprised that he didn’t perform his new single, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” a perfect song for this era when we’re all waxing nostalgic regarding the late Fred Rogers. And besides which, the corner of Madison Avenue and 76th Street is a perfect neighborhood to sing about.
Photo: David Andrako
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