The range of characters Newman inhabits is astonishing; he's a rocker, he's a con man, he's a Tin Pan Alley loser, and he croaks all their stories in perhaps the most distinctive voice in pop music. (It's amazing how a guy with such vocal limitations can make such beautiful noise.) Those familiar with Newman understand his knack for taking his viewpoints from life's subterranean players. His amoral protagonists make no apology, allowing our reaction to bring home a moral message, and causing us to look at ourselves as much as others. This type of discovery often sticks longer than getting preached at.
We climbed down off the wall, strolled through the archway, and headed down Cimiez hill, overlooking the Mediterranean, feeling as though we'd discovered an amazing new talent, knowing he'd been there all along.
Randy Newman is at the Michigan Theater on Sunday, October 15.
[Review published October 2006]
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