Meredith Jones: Bless This Mess, and Keep On Smilin’

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Meredith Jones

Bless This Mess, and Keep On Smilin’

The Duplex, NYC, August 25, 2017

Reviewed by Chris Struck for Cabaret Scenes

Meredith Jones

Meredith Jones strutted comfortably onto the stage in a beautiful purple summer dress with white flowers and beige heels, greeting the audience with a warm, amiable country-girl glow that resonated throughout her performance. From her opener, “All Will Be Well” by Gabe Dixon and Dan Wilson, she demonstrated a stunning control of her voice and posture, putting emotion behind every word. She grabbed the air during each chorus, reminding us of the raw feelings of home and growing up in the country.

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After that, she went into a lengthy description of the impetus for her show, but it gave a clear picture of her stellar work ethic and will to succeed in the face of adversity. Her best songs were done in a country accent, diving deep into those experiences that shaped her. “Charles River,” from the Bostonian musical Whiskeyland!, impressed and it felt as if it were written for Jones. Liam Nelligan, the score’s co-composer (with Nik Walker, also lyricist), played acoustic guitar for the evening, and felt compelled to voice the crowd’s thoughts afterwards. Each song had a unique twist, as Jones was joined on stage or accompanied by talented friends and musicians. On about half of her selections, she was accompanied by the swift-fingered Paul Bourque on the piano. Henry Geller joined her on electric guitar.

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Additionally, she and Tyler Bellmon duetted on “It Takes Two” (Into the Woods), and Mandy Moss and Elissa Castles joined her for an excellent version of “Gone Tomorrow” (The Staves and Tom Billington). However, the evening’s climax was when she surprised her fiancé by inviting him to the stage and singing his favorite, “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.” All in all, this show was great fun!

Chris Struck

Chris Struck's debut novel, Kennig and Gold, is due to be officially published in June 2019. He's written reviews for Cabaret Scenes since August of 2017. For more information about the writer, see