James Naughton: The Songs of Randy Newman
Fri., April 4, 8 PM
James Naughton, the director and two-time Tony Award-winning actor and singer, who has appeared in numerous film and television programs including CBS’s Hostages and on stage in City of Angels and Kander & Ebb’s Chicago, takes the stage to honor the great American songwriter Randy Newman. Though Naughton has sung Newman’s charming songs before in cabaret shows, he has never offered a full evening devoted to this music until now. Naughton’s “bass baritone voice is a phenomenon, both in its caressing resonance and in the ease with which he slides from traditional crooning to jazz-inflected swing” (The New York Times). Newman’s work as a Hollywood soundtrack composer of the past thirty years was preceded by years as a prolific, highly successful songwriter of such hits as “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today,” “Sail Away,” and “I Love L.A.” This episode will be directed by Alan Skog.
Fri., April 11, 9 PM
Born into a family of musicians in a town just a few miles from Muscle Shoals, Alabama—home to the best guitarists in the music business—Jason Isbell’s career choice could seem pre-destined. He started writing songs at an early age, and at 21 joined the rock group, Drive-By Truckers. Isbell wrote and recorded with the Truckers through three albums and six years, leaving in 2007 to come out with a solo album. He then formed a band, The 400 Unit (the colloquial name for the former psychiatric ward of an Alabama hospital), which recorded a couple of CDs full of melancholy country ballads and rousing roots rock. Isbell’s most recent work is the critically-acclaimed Southeastern, with personal and exquisite songs about atonement and redemption, Southern-style. This episode will be directed by Dana Calderwood.