Friday, February 15
Purchase Tickets Online or by phone at (505) 982-1851
At the Door: $22
THE GOOD STUFF, Peter Mulvey’s fifteenth record, is a collection of standards which promptly rejects the accepted definition of “Standard” in favor of a more vivid, open approach. The music of Tom Waits is right there with Duke Ellington; Willie Nelson next to Thelonious Monk; Jolie Holland juxtaposed with Bill Frisell. Mulvey (along with his band, the Crumbling Beauties) address each tune with a true artist’s touch. His mirthful, gravelly baritone is front and center from moment one, and every track is a master class in restraint, phrasing, and commitment.
Twenty-odd years on the road, performing songs from his own catalog and from a vast, varied, and deep well of classic and obscure covers, has prepared Mulvey to deliver this collection. Night after night, the process of divining the heart of a song, being alert to where the moment can lead, has shaped him as an artist. To each rendition, he brings the soul of a singer, a light touch in a heavy world. Recorded in just three days at Signature Sounds Studios in the Connecticut Woods, the performances feature upright bassist Paul Kochanksi, violinist Randy Sabien, guitarist David Goodrich, and drummer Jason Smith. The arrangements run from quintet-in-full-swing down to hushed trio.
The centerpiece of The Good Stuff is a sequence in which a bluesy take on the Ellington classic “Mood Indigo” is sandwiched between Tom Waits’ obscure “Green Grass,” lovingly relocated from the guttural, and a charmingly haphazard rendition of Jolie Holland’s “Old Fashioned Morphine”. This triptych represents not so much the diversity of songwriting on the record as the commonality. “I’d put those three artists in the same drawer in the big bureau of songwriters,” says Mulvey. “They’re from different eras, and considered different animals -- jazz composer, bohemian beat poet, Americana revivalist -- but to my ear they’re the same, in that they’re always trying to write a timeless song.”
He has been the street-singing kid in Dublin, the man fronting the storming electric band, the spoken-word craftsmen, and the Tin Pan Alley delver bringing his music to audiences from Fairbanks to Bilbao. In clubs, theaters, coffee shops, the Kennedy Center, living rooms, and old barns, Mulvey continues to hone his sound with grit and warmth. Peter will be performing solo.