Sat, Aug 14; a “SHOW-OF-THE-WEEK” pick:
7 pm TRACY NEWMAN & THE REINFORCEMENTS, with guest SHAUN CROMWELL, at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena 91001; reservations 626-794-2424; venue phone 626-398-7917; info www.coffeegallery.com. (“the venue named in FolkWorks as L.A.’s best intimate acoustic listening room venue”).
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She’s the only singer-songwriter who has both an EMMY and a PEABODY AWARD. If she can get a GRAMMY, she’ll have the trifecta. She’s working on it. It’s taken TRACY NEWMAN a while to get back to her musical dream. Along the way, she worked as a TV writer, with a partner – Jonathan Stark. Their first steady job was on “Cheers.” After that they were on staff at “Bob” (starring Bob Newhart), “The Nanny,” “Ellen” and “The Drew Carey Show.” In 1997, they won the Emmy and the prestigious Peabody Award for writing the ground-breaking “coming out” episode of “Ellen.” In 2001, they created the ABC comedy, “According to Jim,” starring Jim Belushi, which recently completed it’s eighth and final season of production. Tracy has been writing songs all along, and is once again performing full-time. Her debut CD, “A Place in the Sun,” debuted on radio’s “Tied to the Tracks,” en-route to global airplay.
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THE REINFORCEMENTS have changed some and expanded a lot. They are longtime sideman Gene Lippmann on guitar and vocals, plus Rebecca Leigh on vocals and guitar, John O’Kennedy on mandolin, Doug Knoll on drums, and John Cartwright on bass – he played with Harry Belafonte for 35 years. Tracy Newman and the Reinforcements put on a funny, moving and memorable show.
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Plus, SHAUN CROMWELL is a bluesman who was born in the unlikely blues incubator of Detroit (Royal Oak, Michigan, actually) and he lived there for many years. In Detroit he rocked in various jam-type groups, studied jazz and played in groups where he could play swing music. Shaun will tell you that he moved to Los Angeles because he no longer cared for snow and ice. Once here, Shaun took to, as he says, “finger picking his guitar and coming up with half-assed arrangements of traditional tunes.” He adds, “Too lazy to actually memorize a piece of music,” Shaun likes to perform his songs in an “improvised” fashion, resulting in slightly different versions each time he plays / sings them. While Shaun’s primary influences on the guitar tend toward the Mississippi John Hurt, Ry Cooder, and Rev. Gary Davis ilk, his overall sound is one borne out of his varied musical influences garnered over a lifetime. Tix, $20.