Steve Tyrell: A Song for You

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Steve Tyrell

A Song for You

Café Carlyle, NYC, November 28, 2017

Reviewed by Elizabeth Ahlfors for Cabaret Scenes

Steve Tyrell
Photo: David Andrako

Swing’s the thing with Steve Tyrell and he swings into the Café Carlyle in top form for the 13th holiday season with a new show, A Song for You. The Houston-born Italian boy with a Scotch whiskey voice slips into his standards, from Van Heusen to Van Morrison, with a Texas good-ol’-boy approach and a career honed in music.

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From his days as songwriter, producer, and singer, he’s moved hand in glove with good songs, irresistible melodies, and interesting lyrics. His success has been proven in his years as an ongoing fixture in leading night spots, an impressive list of CDs, and a popular radio show, KJazz 88.1. You see his charm when he takes the stage with Harry Woods’ rhythmic “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” and the beat goes on, featuring a wake-up sax by David Mann.

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His band includes David’s brother, Bob Mann, arranger and master on guitar, David Finck on bass, Kevin Winard on drums, and Jon Allen on keyboards and vocals. His longtime musical director Quinn Johnson remains a vigorous presence on piano, showing his stuff with “Ain’t Misbehavin'” (Fats Waller/Andy Razaf). 

With star-quality instrumentalists, Tyrell proves that good songs can be approached from many directions. Getting into the inside-out interpretation is not Tyrell’s thing, and while he evinces the intimacy of “Try a Little Tenderness” (Jimmy Campbell/Reg Connell/Harry Woods), he does not go for the soul in the Otis Redding rendition.

He presents “Someone Like You” with a Van Morrison supple rasp.

Tyrell, however, always shows great respect for the lyricist and mentions the support he received as a young songwriter from Hal David, as well as the famed composer Burt Bacharach. He performs two of their songs, “This Guy’s in Love With You” and “I Say A Little Prayer.

” He learned to tell a story in song from lyricists and tonight he names his show after Leon Russell’s “A Song for You.” He also offers the Motown song “To Be Loved,” and ends his show with a Willie Nelson/Elvis Presley mega-hit, “Always on My Mind” by Mark James/Wayne Carson/Johnny Christopher.

Hosting still another holiday season at the Café Carlyle, Steve Tyrell proves again that good songs can shine in all styles when they are performed with know-how, respect, and heart and soul.

Elizabeth Ahlfors

Born and raised in New York, Elizabeth graduated from NYU with a degree in Journalism. She has lived in various cities and countries and now is back in NYC. She has written magazine articles and published three books: A Housewife’s Guide to Women’s Liberation, Twelve American Women, and Heroines of ’76 (for children). A great love was always music and theater—in the audience, not performing. A Philadelphia correspondent for and InTheatre Magazine, she has reviewed theater and cabaret for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia City News. She writes for Cabaret Scenes and other cabaret/theater sites. She is a judge for Nightlife Awards and a voting member of Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle.