Album cover for Levi Kreis' Live @ Joe's Pub.
Are you wondering what you might want to get yourself or someone you love for Christmas this year? Near the top of your list should be the just released live album from Tony Award-winning singer/songwriter, Levi Kreis. The album has 14 tracks, with 10 great songs, and four totally charming dialogues Levi had with the audience. While I didn't catch this show in New York City, I did see the tour twice, first in the DC area, and again in Philadelphia. In fact, here is a little taste of the show at the World Cafe Live.
First, having taken a couple of days to listen to it, and it is beautifully recorded at Joe's Pub, which is a great club. The playlist was similar, but not the same as the shows I attended, which was not surprising. There were differences in the two I saw. On the recording, Levi starts out with a song to loosen up his limber fingers as he sits at the piano to play the joyful Hallelujah, I Love Her So, written by Ray Charles. It showcases Levi's strong southern blues background, and gets the audience on their feet. He follows it with another cover, although it is quite different. He sings I Can't Make You Love Me, a song written by Mike Reid & Allen Shamblin, originally performed by Bonnie Raitt. It sits in a beautiful spot in Levi's range, and envelops the listener with a warm embrace. Soon he sings two songs off his debut album, One Of The Ones. First, he explains the history behind making the album, and then sings the gorgeous Just This Good. It is a beautiful love song, bold and soulful, so full of joy and life. That is followed up with I Should Go, and Levi just happened to post a video of him singing the song at home, so here it is.
He finishes up with one more song from that 2005 debut, singing the charming Left Over. Soon he is taking up the 2006 release, The Gospel According To Levi. First up is The Reckoning, an interesting blend of soul, gospel, and Freud. Levi also sings We're Okay, a song he tells us speaks to the relationship with his mother, which has not always been easy. Soon he moved on to Where I Belong, the 2007 release that reached back to his much stronger southern soul roots. That is quite evident in the piano-driven Gonna Be Alright, which includes a little tip of the hat to Stevie Wonder and Songs In The Key Of Life. We were treated to Nothing At All, the stunning ballad featured in a video that topped the charts at both LOGO and MTV. Finally, he ends the show with a treat. Let It Go is a song he is working on for the new album due out in 2012. You can purchase Live @ Joe's Pub at iTunes here, and at Amazon here. Buy it for yourself - you'll be glad you did.