The concertina can, however, drown out Woodward's humble singing. He begs for quiet attention by keeping his voice low, his eyes downcast, and his enthusiasm tempered. He has a wide range of vocal styles from rich bass to an almost yodeling high lilt, but he uses only small changes in volume or speed to signal the climax of the story or a sad ending. He comes off as a shy performer, as perhaps befits an intellectual with an old-fashioned niche. But in a quiet coffee shop with few customers and a nearby seat, I couldn't always hear what he was singing and follow the stories from beginning to end. And I wanted to know what happened to the maid who was stolen away by a falcon.
Preston Woodward performs at Liberty Plaza in the Music in the Park series on Saturday, July 16.
[Originally published in July, 2005.]