Posted on July 31, 2012 at 10:42 pm

JRB, Heidi Blickenstaff, Jenn Damiano & Destan Owens at Birdland, NY, NY on July 30, 2012 (Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN)

Last night was my first concert in New York City in over a year, and it turned out to be a very emotional and powerful experience.  I had three magnificent singers with me: Heidi Blickenstaff, Jenn Damiano and my old friend Destan Owens, who stepped in on two days’ notice when Leslie Odom Jr’s filming schedule changed. I’ve never done a concert with any of them, and they all surprised me constantly with their versatility, their ability to challenge and command the material, and the fresh ways they looked at everything. I was a fan of all three of them before we did this concert, but I’m now utterly devoted to them. Thank you all.

It’s been seven years since Wearing Someone Else’s Clothes was released, and this concert just felt like the right time to change up the sound of the ensemble. Randy Landau switched from his fretless bass to an upright; Gary Sieger added an electric guitar for half of the songs; and Kevin Kuhn joined us on acoustic guitar and mandolin. Meanwhile, of the 12 songs we performed, four of them had never been performed in New York in public before, and most of the rest have only rarely been on my shows.  I was especially moved by the songs from 13, which I still feel so close to and which continue to resonate so deeply in me.

Playbill Online has a great photo gallery from the concert on their invaluable website, showing some of the fancy people who showed up, including Hal Prince, Phyllis Newman and Lucie Arnaz. (Not in the gallery: my magnificent Bridges collaborator Marsha Norman, who brought along the “mahvelous novelist” Meg Wolitzer, and of course my Mom and the whole Brown peanut gallery, not to mention a whole table of French Woodies from 20 years ago!)

It All Fades Away (JRB)

I Love Betsy (from Honeymoon In Vegas) (JRB)

Anywhere But Here (from Honeymoon In Vegas) (Heidi)

Break Me Blues (Destan)

The Lamest Place In The World (from 13) (Jenn)

Wondering (from The Bridges of Madison County) (JRB)

Another Life (from The Bridges of Madison County) (Heidi)

If I Told You Now (Jenn)

Caravan of Angels (JRB)

Flying Home (from Songs for a New World) (Destan and company)

A Little More Homework (from 13) (JRB, Heidi & company)

All Things In Time (JRB)

JRB, vocals and piano
Gary Sieger, electric and acoustic guitars
Randy Landau, acoustic bass
Kevin Kuhn, acoustic guitar and mandolin

Many thanks to Jim Caruso and Johnny Valenti, who have made me feel at home at Birdland since 2006.  Looking forward to the next one!