The Music of Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon

Performed live for Tarrytown Music Hall’s “Night In” series by vocalist Anne Carpenter and vocalist/guitarist Peter Calo.

Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon are giants in the living soundtrack of an entire generation who grew up listening to and singing their songs; attending concerts in clubs, halls, and parks. Many remember pivotal events as if scored by one of these pithy, poetic talents. Peter Calo comes out of that era. A multifaceted musician, he channels its music from experience. It courses through him with authenticity and pleasure one can see as well as hear. The feel is “home.” Though younger, Anne Carpenter seems to have found an essence to which she relates.

The show opens with Mitchell’s “A Free Man in Paris.” Carpenter showcases the Mitchell slip/slide which can seem like controlled yodel. She seems to sing above the notes. Paul Simon’s “America” follows, landing differently than when first popular. “They’ve all come to look for America …” makes us wonder just where our once familiar country has gone. The song ends effectively a capella with a few accompanying strands of “America the Beautiful.”

“Mrs. Robinson” is infectiously enjoyable. Calo is fun to watch. Carpenter, however, doesn’t loosen up and move until the very last songs. She’s stock still. If there’s any expression, we can’t see it for the mike. “Clouds” and “This Flight Tonight” find her swallowing lyrics, perhaps too close to the microphone. On the first, accompaniment choice is emphatic, not dulcet and needs stronger vocal delivery.

The vocalist does well with Mitchell’s “Help Me,” utilizing its natural exhale, sailing on higher octaves. Calo’s scat adds. Annie Ross’s “Twisted,” a rare cover on Mitchell’s albums, and her musically difficult “My Ride Home” are also well served by Carpenter’s phrasing, the former imbued with sass.

“Mother and Child Reunion” (Simon) arrives sensitive and slow riding the guitarist’s pristine finger work. Next is “Father and Daughter,” a song from Surprise with which I was unfamiliar: “…though I can’t guarantee there’s nothing scary hiding under your bed/I’m gonna stand guard like a postcard of a Golden Retriever/And never leave ’til I leave you with a sweet dream in your head…” Calo sings to his three daughters with deep feeling.

The iconic “Circle Game” is sweet nostalgia. Mitchell’s unique tunings are noted. “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard” is lively and bright. “Awn ma whey (on my way) Calo sings, “takin’ ma tym (taking my time.) Carpenter whistles. ‘Very cool. The show ends with Simon’s “Loves Me Like a Rock.” The performers play off one another vocally. Carpenter lets the music literally move her. An a capella denouement with clapping works wonderfully.

Peter Calo has been Carly Simon’s guitar player and backup vocalist, musical director, occasional producer and even song collaborator for the last 20 plus years. He’s also worked with Dionne Warwick, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson, Hall and Oates, Sophie B. Hawkins, Andrea Bocelli…and on. Singer/songwriter Anne Carpenter has had her songs recorded by Sloan Wainwright and performs frequently on Westchester turf.              Colton Suarez – Technical and Lighting Director

Photo Courtesy of Tarrytown Music Hall

This is the 135th Anniversary of Tarrytown Music Hall which is owned, operated and loved by The Friends Of The Mozartina, a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Tax ID: 13-3020574

Calo and Carpenter will be in livestream concert with an evening of Carly Simon  February 28 at 7 p.m. to benefit The Schoolhouse Theater

About Alix Cohen (1007 Articles)
Alix Cohen is the recipient of nine 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, 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.