Sunday, July 11, 2010

Perry Payne Reignites Metropolitan Room

Few artists can make one bellow with laughter one minute, then wipe away sentimental tears the next. This has always been the joyous juxtaposition that has made Perry Payne an enduring New York-based talent: She is as savvy at interpreting song as she is a master of madcap comedy.

Her performances last week at Metropolitan Room encored her July show "Getting Away from It All," updated with topical humor about the demise of Al & Tipper Gore and jokes about her southern roots ("I'm from Lynchburg, Va., home of the Fleet Enema Corp.... which now manufactures Chap Stick." Pause. Insert guffaws).

Again, she punctuated a number of comedy gems with dead-on timing—Blossom Dearie's "Bruce" and Steve Randoy’s “He Slipped Me the Plastic,” which she turned from a punch line into an anthemic tour de force—while offering a lovely, customized reading of Trisha Yearwood's "Years" and wrapping her arms around Pink's beautiful "Glitter in the Air."

With Michael Rice & His Travelling Three accompanying with class, Payne's show offered a cool melodic breeze amid New York's tenacious summer heatwave. As always, bravo. Perry performs the stunningly sentimental "Years."