Posted on April 26, 2019 at 7:56 pm

Let’s be honest: some people sing better than others. And some people sing better than pretty much anyone. And one of those people is Alysha Umphress.

I’ve been waiting for the chance to sing with Alysha for years now, and we finally found a night when she could come to SubCulture and get her groove on with my boys. Three minutes into the sound check, every single musician looked at me and said the same thing, “Her pitch!” I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a singer who lands that squarely in the center of the pitch every time, and who phrases with such musicality and invention. Alysha is a singer’s singer.

Alysha put us through our paces, not just with a soaring “It All Fades Away” and a searing “Cassandra,” but with a simple and beautiful version of Kacey Musgraves’s “Somebody To Love” and a slamming, funky take on Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie.” (This show also marked the return, after far too long, of Justin Goldner to the band. I loved having the whole How We React and How We Recover rhythm section on hand!)

(Gary didn’t feel great about his joke of the month, though it did get a very good response. He’s working on May’s joke now.)

Then Alysha told the story of how she had prepared “See I’m Smiling” for a master class I was going to teach when she was a student at Boston Conservatory in 2004, only to be told at the last minute that I wouldn’t be coaching any of my own songs. (This was standard practice for me at the time – far too often, the pianists at colleges were so nervous having to play my songs in front of me that they couldn’t support the singers appropriately and I couldn’t really do my work. I’m happy to say that the level of comfort with my work among pianists has gone up considerably in the last decade!) Anyway, Alysha had put in all the work but never got to sing my song for me – but cut to fifteen years later, and she ripped it up in front of a crowd that showed her it was worth the wait!

I’m thrilled to welcome Alysha to the SubCulture family and can’t wait to get her back again to sing some more! In the meantime: next show is Sunday, May 19, with the one and only Wayne Brady! Tickets right here!

Everybody Knows from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Melinda from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
When I’m Gone from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
ALYSHA: It All Fades Away from The Bridges of Madison County (2014)
ALYSHA: Somebody To Love (Josh Osborne, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, 2015)
ALYSHA: Invisible from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
Fifty Years Long from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
ALYSHA & JRB: I’d Give It All For You from Songs for a New World (1995)
ALYSHA: Cassandra from The Connector (2019)
ALYSHA: Valerie (Sean Payne, David McCabe, Abi Harding, Boyan Chowdhury & Russel Pritchard, 2006)
Wait ‘Til You See What’s Next from How We React and How We Recover (2018)
ALYSHA: See I’m Smiling from The Last Five Years (2002)
Moving Too Fast from The Last Five Years (2002)
All Things In Time from How We React and How We Recover (2018)

ALYSHA UMPHRESS: vocals
JRB: piano, vocals
JAMIE EBLEN: drums, backing vocals
JUSTIN GOLDNER: guitars, mandolin
RANDY LANDAU: basses
TODD REYNOLDS: violin, backing vocals
GARY SIEGER: guitars, backing vocals

Credits:

Photos by Erika Kapin Photography