Lucille Carr-Kaffashan: Diamonds and Rust

“Lately I’ve been having flashbacks to the 1970s…The voices of these women (singer/songwriters) spoke to me, ushered me into adulthood,” begins Lucille Carr-Kaffashan speaking for much of the audience. Laura Nyro’s “Save the Country” is an off ramp to the times.

New to me, “Twenty Mile Zone” follows. (Dory Previn) “I wasn’t doing nothing/Just driving about/Screaming at the dark/Letting it out…” Remember the Vietnam War, civil rights riots, assassinations? Stopped on the highway by a motorcycle cop, she looks up at him and he down at her during conversation. Jeff Cubeta sways at the piano. Each “I was doing it alone” arrives deftly with its own inflection. Read the lyrics. Relatable today.

Carole King’s “Been to Canaan” (she shakes her head) and wanna go back again…” might refer to home or years past. “By 1975, I was already married and in graduate school” is the last time we hear anything personal. Songs evoke the era, but we have no idea what was happening in her life then or what she thinks upon looking back. Selections by Janis Ian, Carly Simon, Carole King/Toni Stern, and Joni Mitchell arrive with slowed gravitas. Carr-Kaffashan employs an appealingly familiar slip/slide of notes from head to chest voices as well as selective use of parlando. Where is she in the sequence?

The artist is focused but rarely looks at us creating a disconnect. She never smiles. even during Melanie Safka’s charming “Brand New Key,” a flirt of a song if there ever was one. Frothy piano and thrum, thrum bass seem at odds with the vocal. The same might be said for Carole King’s “I Feel the Earth Move” which opens with cool, jazz bass and snapped fingers yet never achieves the exhilaration of its lyrics. “Better Days” (Melissa Manchester/Carole Bayer Sager) seems to contradict “What Have They Done to My Song, Ma?” (Melanie Safka)

It’s frustrating when a smart, vocally talented and seasoned artist appears without mooring. The show needs a different director and clarity of patter.

Lucille Carr-Kaffashan: Diamonds and Rust
Director – David Hilder
MD/Piano – Jeff Cubeta

Don’t Tell Mama 
343 West 46th Street

About Alix Cohen (1725 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of ten New York Press Club Awards for work published on this venue. Her writing history began with poetry, segued into lyrics and took a commercial detour while holding executive positions in product development, merchandising, and design. A cultural sponge, she now turns her diverse personal and professional background to authoring pieces about culture/the arts with particular interest in artists/performers and entrepreneurs. Theater, music, art/design are lifelong areas of study and passion. She is a voting member of Drama Desk and Drama League. Alix’s professional experience in women’s fashion fuels writing in that area. Besides Woman Around Town, the journalist writes for Cabaret Scenes, Broadway World, TheaterLife, and Theater Pizzazz. Additional pieces have been published by The New York Post, The National Observer’s Playground Magazine, Pasadena Magazine, Times Square Chronicles, and ifashionnetwork. She lives in Manhattan. Of course.