Being a professional singer is a gift on its own, yet being able to write songs is even more impressive. On a Winter’s Night featured five singer-songwriters, each having solo careers as well as their collaborations with each other that have occurred for over a decade last Saturday, Nov. 16 at Pollak Theatre.
Christine Lavin, John Gorka, Patty Larkin, Cliff Eberhardt, and Cheryl Wheeler are among some of the best songwriters in the game. Each of the performers sang three songs of their choosing back-to-back, and then joined the stage altogether.
The night started with Lavin taking center stage, guitar in hand. She began her set with her original song, ‘Sometimes Mother Really Does Know Best.’ Before starting, she asked an audience member (who was the mother of a teenager daughter) for their names to insert into her lyrics. She was very interactive with the audience during her whole performance, which made for a fun night.
Following her was Eberhardt, who had me cracking up the whole time. Not only was he an incredible singer and guitar player, but he was so funny and entertaining. His unique voice in addition to his raspy tone suited his style of writing. He performed a song he wrote for a play he worked on over the summer.
Larkin followed, and her powerful alto voice combined with her skilled guitar playing was amazing. She used a violin bow to manipulate sounds on the guitar by sliding it against the strings. Larkin energetically sang her original songs, ‘Who holds your hand’ and ‘Winterland.’
Introduced to the stage next was Gorka. He started his set with the song ‘True in Time.’ It was an emotional song about passing time. He switched to piano for ‘Let Them In,’ which is based off a poem about fallen soldiers.
Finally, Wheeler took stage. She played her first song, ‘If I Die Before You’ on ukulele. She had a very interesting voice that you could listen to for hours. She was also a comedian, making jokes about her appearance and lifestyle. Her last song carried the important issue of guns.
All of the artists had huge personalities, which made them incredible performers. After the intermission, they came out on stage and took turns once more singing their songs of choice, but added harmonization and extra instrumentals to each others.
When Gorka’s turn came around, he had the audience hysterical with his comedic original, ‘People My Age.’ The lyrics spoke of the grossness of aging individuals. His facial expressions as he sang were entertaining to say the least.
For one of the last songs of the night, Patty and the gang sang her song, ‘Pundits and Poets.’ The audience members were on their feet, singing along. For the first encore song, they sang Bob Dylan’s ‘I Shall Be Released.’ The group harmonizations were phenomenal.
Each artist was amazing on their own, but the most special part was their evident bond of friendship. It was a fun night, and I now have a greater respect for singer-songwriters.
PHOTO COURTESY of Tina Colella