Somewhere in New York City, on any given night, music magic is happening. Look up any gig guide and at a quick glance there will always be something special happening somewhere. It’s the beauty of living in the belly of the beast. On Tuesday night the magic found its way downstairs into the main room at Le Poisson Rouge, and the man behind the magic on this occasion is none other than Thomas Bartlett (best known for his work with Sufjan Stevens, Glen Hansard, The National, and many more).
The Burgundy Stain Sessions is an “in the round” gig that Thomas started in 2011 as a monthly series at Le Poisson Rouge. Over the years names such as Chris Thile, Lisa Hannigan, and Glen Hansard have come down and shared their songs and stories in this intimate setting. Tonight was the turn of Annie Clark (St Vincent), Norah Jones, Sufjan Stevens, Joan as Policewoman, Steve Salett, John Cameron Mitchell, The Perennials, and Justin Vivian Bond.
Thomas opened the show by sharing with the audience that his mother Sherry was celebrating her birthday and that tonight was going to be all about her and her favorite songs. A gig that was always going to be special now took on a whole new meaning. Together with his house band; Oren Bloedow on bass, Doug Wieselman on woods / guitar and Matt Johnson on drums Thomas invited his mostly unannounced friends to the stage who each expressed so much love for Sherry and Thomas. The level of respect for this family shown by every single performer was incredible to see. Songs such as “Sherry Baby,” “New Years Day,” “Crazy,” and “How can you mend a broken heart” took us through some classics, and, to put the icing on Sherry’s cake Sufjan Stevens performed his song “Happy Birthday” for her as she blew out her candles.
Saving the best until last was always going to be difficult with such a stellar lineup, so, that responsibility fell upon Sherry herself as she was called upon to close the night out on vocals with Justin Vivian Bond, Norah Jones, and Joan as Policewoman. The closing song Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of fools” brought the house down, and the ear to ear smiles onstage as the night wrapped up summed up what was one hell of a night. Happy Birthday Sherry.
Article: Anthony Mulcahy