Jake’s Take’s Concert Reviews: Indie Collaborative At Carnegie Hall

Wouter Kellerman, the Bluestone Sisters, and Grant Maloy Smith headlined the Indie Collaborative’s “An Evening of Musical Friendship and Diversity.” (Photo courtesy of EMPKT PR)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

 Since its opening in April 1891, Carnegie Hall has hosted a variety of performers that ranged from classical musicians to controversial comedians. On November 19, the historic concert venue’s Weill Recital Hall welcomed another group of extraordinary musicians— the Indie Collaborative.

The Indie Collaborative is an international group of over 2,000 professional independent artists that work in the music industry. Their goal is to inspire artists from all genres to create unique collaborations.  Members that make up the Indie Collaborative include singers, songwriters, instrumentalists, producers, and others who make their living through music.

Representing the Indie Collaborative for this impeccable event were the Bluestone Sisters (Eileen Bluestone Sherman and award-winning composer Gail C. Bluestone), Grammy-winning flutist Wouter Kellerman, and singer-songwriter Grant Maloy Smith. The evening was divided into three acts that represent each of their respective music genres.

Act One-The Bluestone Sisters

The Indie Collaborative kicked off the evening by giving the Weill Recital Hall audience a taste of Broadway.  Four Broadway veterans accompanied by musical director Timothy Graphenreed (The Wiz) sang eight selections from two of the Bluestone Sisters’ projects. Five of the songs were from Perfect Picture, which centered on the life of the legendary artist Norman Rockwell, while the other three were from The Odd Potato, which was based on Bluestone Sherman’s 1984 book The Odd Potato: A Chanukah Story.

Cary Tedder (A Bronx Tale: The Musical and Big Fish: The Musical) showcased why he was an impeccable storyteller as he performed “Listen Up” from Perfect Picture and The Odd Potato’s “A Little Imagination,” which featured brilliant choreography from Ryan VanDenBoom. Sara Esty (An American in Paris) made her Carnegie Hall debut as she performed Perfect Picture’s “Mrs. Rockwell” and showcased her comedic chops in The Odd Potato’s “Don’t Forget the Pepper.”

Broadway veteran Rachel York (Head Over Heels, Les Misérables, and Victor/Victoria) delivered superb performances as she performed the humorous “I Keep Christmas in My Pocket” from Perfect Picture and The Odd Potato’s moving “One More Day.” Lastly, Drama Desk, Emmy and Tony-winning performer Lillias White (Chicago, Fela, and Once On This Island) proved why she is a national treasure with exceptional performances of Perfect Picture’s A Husband Is” and the moving “Stand Up Proud! An Anthem 4 Freedom.”

Act Two-Wouter Kellerman

Wouter Kellerman took the Indie Collaborative audience on an international music tour with the help of acoustic guitarist Peter Janson, pianist Michael Gallant, drummer and percussionist Matthew Burgess, and bassist Brian Hinchcliffe. The quintet delivered beautiful interpretations of Irish marches, a French classic “Les Folies d’Espange,” and the Spanish love song “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas.” The highlight of Kellerman’s set was his original piece “Wind.” It not only set the tone of the set, but it could also be the theme song for commuters.

Act Three-Grant Maloy Smith

Billboard chart-topping artist Grant Maloy Smith concluded the evening by bringing Bluegrass and American Roots to the Weill Recital Hall.  When I heard Maloy Smith sing “The Boy Who Built The Moon,” his voice reminded me of Woody Guthrie, Peter Yarrow, and Paul Stookey. He delivered an amazing set that included the energetic “Ride That Train” and “Isht a Lhampko (Have Strength),” which highlighted the struggles of the Native Americans during the Dust Bowl.  Another highlight of the show was “I Come From America,” which Maloy Smith encouraged the audience members to sing the chorus with him. The evening ended with Maloy Smith joining forces with Kellerman and special guest performer Mia Moravis, who performed “We’ll Stay Together,” a song that Maloy Smith dedicated to the Indie Collaborative.

Final Thoughts & Grade: The Indie Collaborative delivered a stellar concert event that highlighted three different musical genres.  Each act showcased their unique strengths through lyrics and music (The Bluestone Sisters), arranging (Kellerman), and storytelling (Maloy Smith). The concert also showcased how imperative it is supporting independent musicians and artists as they pursue their life calling. A

To learn more about the Indie Collaborative, visit their website.

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Copyright 2015 Jacob Elyachar