Review – Adam Levy – Naubinway Album Release, Cedar Cultural Center 11/8

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Photo By Eduardo A. Colon

by Derek Lynch

As Adam Levy’s six-person backing band took the stage last Saturday night and created a wall of sound that grew in intensity until it melded into the intro of “Eucatastrophe”, a slideshow of grotesque and surreal artwork was projected onto the wall behind them. This was to be a visual counterpart to the underlying focus of mental health and suicide awareness on Levy’s newest record, Naubinway. After the unimaginably tragic loss of his son Daniel to suicide in 2012, Levy managed to carry on by becoming a beacon of support and guidance for families experiencing similar tragedies. As stated by Bill Grey of People Incorporated earlier in the evening, Levy has helped countless others cope by speaking out with his own story, and by writing music to help us all connect with each other. Last night, Adam and friends treated the Cedar to the entirety of the record, all translated beautifully from studio to stage.
Adam live is a force to be reckoned with, especially when backed by a team of all-stars: Jillian Rae, Josh Kaplan, Peter Sands, Trent Norton, Joe Savage, and Brian Halverson were all in their element and playing at their finest. Each member provided texture and complimentary grooves to Adam’s acoustic and his lyrics. At its heart, Naubinway is a singer-songwriter album, and Levy’s stories and his signature Chet-Atkins-meets-Nick-Drake fingerpicking were at the forefront at all moments. Halfway through the set, the band took a seat as Adam played a couple songs solo, including the title track. The nearly sold-out Cedar, which had been rocking in its foundations just moments ago, had suddenly become perfectly still. As reverent as a living room show, we listened intently as Adam gave us some of the most blunt and personal songs on the album.

After the band returned and the set was in its third act, Levy stated that he would leave us with one of the most uplifting songs on the record. “I Wish You Well” was our farewell, our optimistic benediction to a night that was equal parts record release, somber memorial, and celebration of life. As Adam and friends exited the stage, the slideshow changed to a photograph of Daniel Levy, smiling and content. The show’s encore left everyone in smiles, as the band returned to perform a few covers including “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” and “Ooh Las Vegas” with Jillian Rae, Peter Sands, and finally Levy killing some foot-stoming, country-bluegrass-rock solos. As the final encore ended, it became clear that tragedy can blind us, so it will also bring us closer.

Set List:

Eucatastrophe

This Friend

Pitch Black Path

Atoms Never Die

When Your Well Runs Dry

Take It As It Comes

Naubinway

How I Let You Down

Potter’s Field

Marigold

Clemens in Plainview

Handful of Sand

I Wish You Well

Encore:

I’ve Just Seen a Face

You Really Got a Hold On Me

Ooh Las Vegas

http://www.thinkpiecepublishing.com/store/albums/

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