Jeanne Marie Boes first came to the attention of this blog back in the zeros. Back then, she’d play the occasional gig at places like Tavern on the Green or some bistro in Queens. Why was this singer with the wise, knowing, fortysomething voice and songs that blended cabaret, mischievous blues and big oldfashioned rock anthems not doing more shows? There was a reason: turns out, she wasn’t in her forties. She was a teenager then.
Which was something of a shock. Among her three albums and numerous singles, there’s one where a family member tells her that she’s an old soul – and is she ever. She’s got brass in her upper register, a pillowy, dreamy quality in the lows and a soaring range. She sings conversationally, intimately: you feel like she’s in the room with you. You have to go back a long ways to find a comparison: Shirley Bassey without the camp, maybe. It’s an urbane voice, one that’s seen a lot in a short time and internalized it. And much as she’ll confidently channel whatever emotion she wants, she seems to like the subtle ones. As nuanced as she is now, if she keeps growing, in five years she’ll be terrifying. She’s playing the release show for her new single, Strangers, at the small room at the Rockwood on Dec 10 at 6 (six) PM, as good a room as any for a voice like hers.
As a tunesmith, she also looks back to an earlier era, yet her mix of Rat Pack orchestral pop, torch song, blues, cabaret and occasional stadium rock bombast is uniquely her own. She likes a clever turn of phrase, yet she’s down to earth at the same time. Like Harold Arlen – someone she resembles thematically if not really stylistically – she’s created her own niche.
The new single, recorded live at the Metropolitan Room, is streaming at Bandcamp along with the rest of her catalog. It’s a big, angst-fueled piano anthem, with a gothic tinge in the same vein as Kristin Hoffmann‘s darker material. And it’s a showcase for Boes’ powerful flights to the top of her register, ending with an unexpectedly jaunty blues phrase. Her albums are also worth a spin. Some of those tracks sound like demos, with drum samples and various keyboard textures substituting for a full band. Others have a directness that matches her voice; she doesn’t waste notes. Even if this is a solo show, it’ll be interesting to see how far she’s come in the time since she put out her first album in 2009.
Nice to see the organizers of New York’s version of La Fete de la Musique get their own site going this year. We went through it and cherrypicked the best shows we could find, just for you, if you’re feeling up for a little wandering around town during lunch, or after work – or if you’re one of the legions of the unemployed here, why not make a day out of it? As far as we can tell (last year’s master calendar only listed a fraction of the day’s actual performances), these are your best bets for all the free shows happening Monday, June 21. Note that many ambitious acts offer you more than one chance to see them. As far as locations are concerned, Monday’s best lineup is at the cube at Astor Place starting at a quarter to one with the Xylopholks, Electric Junkyard Gamelan at 1:45, Balthrop Alabama at 3:30, Black Sea Hotel at 4:30 and then Pearl and the Beard at 5:15. Also worth checking out later: the country/blues night at 68 Jay St. Bar, the all-day funk extravaganza at Rose Bar and the reggae night at SOB’s. Fortuitously, you can also go to the Punk Island show and not miss a thing because that’s on Sunday starting at 10 AM (early arrival advised) and going til five with DOA, Blanks 77, Hub City Stompers and all kinds of other excellent bands.
At noon fun and innovative latin soul/bugalu revivalists Spanglish Fly plays outside Rose Bar; at 6 they’re at the park at 2nd Ave. and E 10th St.
At noon French reggae/dub crew Dub. Inc. play City Winery; at 8 they’re at SOB’s
At noon powerpop guitar god Pete Galub plays Society Coffee, 2104 Frederick Douglass Blvd in Harlem.
At half past noon five-string Celtic fiddler Cady Finlayson and guitarist Vita Tanga play Irish music at 40 Wall St.; they move to the NYPL branch at 112 E 96th St. at 3 PM
Starting at 1 PM avant garde composer Iannis Xenakis’ trancey, intense percussion piece Oresteia will be performed at the Swedish Marionette Cottage Theatre in Central Park, enter on the west side at 79th St and follow the signs (or the noise). His Persephassa will be performed at the lake in Central Park (enter on the west side, 72nd St.) at 3:30 and 5:30
12:45 PM furry-suited vibraphone ragtime swing outfit the Xylopholks play the cube at Astor Place.
1 PM the Famous Accordion Orchestra play Brooklyn Bridge Park, Plymouth and Main St. in Dumbo – note that this is a state park so be careful if you’re drinking alcohol.
1:45 PM Electric Junkyard Gamelan – who played one of the most amazing shows we’ve seen all year – at the cube at Astor Place.
2 PM popular synth-pop dance duo Hank and Cupcakes play at the Loving Cup Cafe, 93 N 6th St. in Williamsburg; they seem to be doublebooked with funk mob Turkuaz, who are also playing outside Rose Bar on Grand St. at 6.
2 PM Mission on Mars plays psychedelic acoustic raga/rock/jazz hybrid stuff at the great hill in Central Park, enter on the west side at 103rd St.
2 PM Sukari play reggae and ska at Hunts Point Park, Lafayette Ave. and Edgewater Road in the Bronx
3 PM torchy, no-nonsense jazz/pop pianist Jeanne Marie Boes plays at Cafe Bar, 32-90 36th St. in Astoria; at 6 PM she’s at Brick Cafe at 30-95 33rd St. in Astoria.
3 PM literate, Springsteen-ish blue collar songwriter Al Lee Wyer plays Battery Park
3:30 PM Balthrop, Alabama plays at the cube at Astor Place followed by the wonderful, otherworldly Balkan vocal quartet Black Sea Hotel at 4:30 and then bracingly smart cello rockers Pearl & the Beard at 5:15
4 PM klezmer jazz crew Talat at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine
4 PM Benny and the Ben-Ja-Min Band play reggae and ska at Beach 21st St. and the boardwalk in Far Rockaway; at 7 PM, they move to the Bushwick Project for the Arts, 304 Meserole St.
4 PM Chink Floyd at Tompkins Square Park – gotta love that name
4 PM violinist Karen Lee Larson and jam-oriented friends are at Society Coffee, 2104 Frederick Douglass Blvd in Harlem.
4:30 PM Gamelan Son of Lion plays Pier One at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Columbia Heights and Cranberry St. in Dumbo
5 PM the Hsu-Nami play ferocious, Asian-tinged metal/art-rock instrumentals with guitars and a Chinese erhu fiddle at the Peach Frog Companies (?), 136 N 10th St. in Williamsburg
6 PM tuneful, smart avant garde cellist/songwriter Jody Redhage & Fire in July at the Dumbo Arts Center, 30 Washington St. in Dumbo
7 PM the Voxare String Quartet at Bargemusic in Dumbo, program TBA
7 PM blazing, dark Balkan dance music from across the centuries with Raya Brass Band at Bubby’s at 1 Main St. in Dumbo
7 PM the satirical, playful, ageless Remy de Laroque plays Roosevelt Park in Chinatown, Houston and Christie.
7 PM artsy, clever accordion pop with Cassis & the Sympathies at Battery Park, moving to the Fulton Ferry Landing in Dumbo at 9
7 PM oldschool Brooklyn rock vet John Hovorka and his band at McGoldrick Park, Driggs Ave and Russell St. in Greenpoint
7 PM Num & Nu Afrika Project play roots reggae at Drastadub Studio, 58 W. 127th St.
7 PM the Old Rugged Sauce play deviously virtuosic guitar jazz standards at Mousey Brown Salon, 732 Lorimer St. in Williamsburg
7 PM punkish rockers Diabolique play Barretto Point Park, Tiffany St. and Viele Ave. in the Bronx – we saw them a couple of years ago and thought that by now they’d be even more interesting.
7:30 PM scathingly literate noir rocker LJ Murphy (completely mischaracterized on the MMNY site as “folk”) at 136 Milton St. in Greenpoint
7:30 PM Hungry March Band play Balkan brass music at Jackson Square, Horatio St. and 8th Ave. in the west village
8 PM lyrically dazzling, fiery art-rock band Changing Modes play Cafe Bar, 32-90 36th St. in Astoria
8 PM the phantasmagorical Carol Lipnik & Spookarama play the community garden at 346 E Houston between B and C