Concert Reviews / Music / Reviews / Singers

Randy Edelman – City Winery – New York (A PopEntertainment.com Concert Review)

Randy Edelman

Randy Edelman – City Winery – New York, NY – August 28, 2022

Composer/Singer/Songwriter Randy Edelman Performed Heartfelt Compositions at City Winery Offering a Preview of His Shows to Come in December

Along with Randy Newman, Paul Williams and Van Dyke Parks, among others, pop singer/songwriter Randy Edelman has established himself as a member of the snarky, eccentric songster sub-genre. The 75-year-old tells tales of failed love, unresolved relationships and unfulfilled dreams. Yet through it all, he sings of hope for the future. 

Edelman recently scored the upcoming film Skelly with Brian Cox (Succession) and the demonic thriller The Beast Inside. For the first time, Sony Classical has issued Pink Slime vinyl, digi- and CD versions of his classic score to Ghostbusters II. New Edelman songs for the musical Shortcut are now available. And Post-Covid, the single “Comin’ Out The Other Side” is out on Tribeca Records.
 
Along the way, Edelman has made visits to this town, gracing audiences with his uniquely crafted song stylizations and performances. Thanks to a surprise invite last August, I experienced his most recent NYC excursion. Gigging at the relaunched City Winery, relocated at Pier 57 on the city’s far westside, this fabulous space provided the ideal environment for getting close and personal to such a musical talent.

I had seen him before and every time I did, his performance just deepened the experience. Thankfully, there won’t be such a gap between Edelman’s last session and his next shows here. They’ve been booked in December, right before Christmas, at two other fine venues – Don’t Tell Mama (10 pm, Dec. 22) and Chelsea Table + Stage (9 pm, Dec. 23) where I had first seen him maybe a year ago.

Tickling the keys throughout the Pier 57 show, Edelman displayed a low-keyed pride in his achievements while rattling off historic details. The Teaneck, New Jersey native is a fine-honed songwriter/vocalist whose quirky tunes have a commercial tinge while being fatalistically romantic.
 
As a young boy, Edelman transcribed sounds into piano pieces. As he aged into college, he turned from pre-med to studying piano and composition at the Cincinnati Music Conservatory. He then jump-started his career with an arranging assignment at James Brown’s Cincinnati-based King Records.

By 1970, Edelman had relocated to NYC becoming a CBS Records staff writer while playing piano in Broadway orchestras. Randy also began writing and recording his own LPs granting him an audience and a spot on “Top of the Pops.” 

Then a move to L.A. led him to make several albums. A myriad of artists started covering his originals. Examples: “Weekend in New England” (Barry Manilow), “I Can’t Make Music” (The Carpenters), and “My Place” (Nelly) which reached Number 1 on the Billboard Hip Hop charts. 
 
Other tracks that have been covered include “Down in the Everglades” (Willie Nelson), “Isn’t it a Shame” (Patti LaBelle), “If Love is Real” (Olivia Newton-John), “Blue Street” (Blood, Sweat & Tears) and Royal Philharmonic’s “Grey.” Additionally, Edelman has opened live in huge arenas for such icons as Frank Zappa and The Carpenters. 

Randy Edelman

Which brings us back to that recent performance. Alternating his patter between self-effacing humor and snarkiness, Edelman sat at the piano as if there were no other place he’d rather be. He opened the show with his forceful yet plaintive tune, “Don’t Forsake Me Now” which tells a story of travel and time. Nice descriptions driven by the pulse of the piano and capturing grit in just a phrase.
 
Next, Edelman followed that one with “The Farmer,” the opening cut from his first album of 50 years ago. A fine composition which encapsulates a feeling of loss, its rich cascade of piano chords drives his point home.
 
Edelman then related a story about two kids who heard his album and took him on tour. That brother/sister duo, The Carpenters, loved a song of his, “You,” so much that they recorded it, becoming a hit for them. Edelman’s version is singularly touching, thanks to his emotive piano playing. 
 
After beginning with songs that convey such an air of innocence, his next tune more cynically tells of a downtown guy who finds his uptown woman. It turns into a story of a doomed relationship, flawed but hard to let go of. As Randy sings, he leaves his “Uptown, up-tempo woman” because he’s just a “Downtown, downbeat guy.”
 
Then Edelman told of going back in the day to the offices of song publishers on West 56th Street. While schlepping his songs around, he met a guy who had worked with Joan Rivers and had a close relationship with Clive Davis. As Edelman noted, although the song was in 3/4 waltz time (which no one seemed to think would work), it got sent over to that guy, Barry Manilow, and was perfect for him. His hit, “Weekend in New England,” was a tune of yearning, about the pain of love and the need that goes along with it.
 
Surprisingly, Edelman next performed a cover — Unit 4+2’s 1965 hit, “Concrete and Clay.” A classic ‘60s pop tune not often heard, it’s likely been an influence on Edelman’s composing style. With a sweet-as-roses feeling, it’s romantic and tender but with an edge.
 
From this set of tunes Edelman turned to performing, strictly on piano, his comedy movie medley which demonstrated another striking element of his career. Besides song-smithing, he’s a remarkably successful composer of symphonic soundtracks and other cinematic compositions.

Edelman has been creating many of the world’s best known soundtracks such as Ghostbusters II, 27 Dresses, While You Were Sleeping, The Last of the Mohicans, Kindergarten Cop, XXX, Twins, My Cousin Vinny, The Mask, Beethoven, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Anaconda, Mummy 3, Billy Madison, Leap Year, EdTV and an array of others. 
 
In addition, he’s scored numerous TV shows and series including MacGyver, Mr. Sunshine, Netflix’s Backdraft 2 and HBO’s Citizen X. He’s also written music for HBO’s NASA’s final shuttle launch Dare Mighty Things, ESPN’s Wimbledon, Grand Slam Tennis Series, ESPN Sports Century and even NBC’s on-air Olympic theme. 
 
After a few more songs, the busy-haired pianist performed another instrumental medley – this time, of his adventure films scores. Again, they demonstrated his composing power. Tight and driven by a broad melodic range, he illustrated why he’s been so successful at getting on-going scores. 
 
Aside from Edelman’s skill at crafting and orchestrating cinematic compositions, his song set demonstrated a sweep that displays a cinematic narrative. As he wound down his show with a few other tunes, he did another cover – of the classic “Mack The Knife” – that further illustrated his unique flair. Despite having presented a show loaded with a range of moods and styles, the entire playlist fell under the distinct banner of “An Evening with Randy Edelman.” 

For a discography and other details, check out:
randyedelman.com

For details on his up-coming shows go to:
www.donttellmamanyc.com
www.chelseatableandstage.com

Brad Balfour

Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 30, 2022.

Photos © 2022. Courtesy of World Star PR. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s