Every time I hear the haunting words and tune, “From A Distance,” it always captivates me. The Grammy winning song was used as a wake-up call for the astronauts when the Americans and Russians met in outer space for the first time. It brings to mind Bette Midler, who popularized the peace anthem. That is, until Monday evening, when I heard composer Julie Gold perform her masterpiece at the Duplex in the West Village. Wow! Gold at the piano sang this and other songs she’s written accompanied by backup singers Margaret “Madge” Dorn and Emily Bindiger. Their well-balanced harmony complemented Gold beautifully.
The immensely talented Gold calls her music, “reality song writing.” She prides herself on presenting one new song each show, and again this week, she performed last month’s composition, “Drop Dead,” for the audience encouraging them to join in. Despite the title, it has clever lyrics –“who wants to suffer” she quips. “I don’t want to live till my clothes are out of style.”
Her most recent work, “Martini,” harks back to the 60′s. It’s a humorous composition about drinking a martini and tearing her ACL. Her lyrics emphasize the positive side of everyday life. Gold has a gift for engaging her audience through her dynamic personality and the genuine heart she puts into each number.
Gold not only writes both words and music but also comfortably shares personal anecdotes about each composition. “The House on Maple Hill” was among her best as was her homage to the music business, “Number Two.”
Special guest comedic folkie, Andy Breckman, co-creator of the hit TV series “Monk,” and Gold’s camp friend from childhood, sang a few original numbers on guitar including “Don’t Get Killed,” the title song of his audio CD. His relaxed and unpretentious presence was an amusing addition to the show and truly made this intimate club feel like a cozy living room.
Gold was back with her standard, “Goodnight, New York.” She sang it in a way that you could appreciate each incredible lyric. The audience left singing “From A Distance” as she closed the show singing the moving number with Breckman, followed by an encore from the packed audience, “Love Is Love Is Love.” This was one of those shows that make you feel good all over. You leave wanting more of her simple wisdom and catchy music.
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