The brilliant British singer Barb Jungr, a self described minimalist, launched the first leg of an American tour with her collaborator/pianist Simon Wallace by appearing at Joe’s Pub on November 28, 2010. They are here to promote Barb’s new CD “The Men I Love,” which was partially inspired by an engagement at The Café Carlyle, where the two were united after several years of not playing together.
Sunday Night at Joe’s they played together again in the states, and they were nothing less than magnificent weaving a magical spell that seem to build with each song. There were glorious covers of old standards like Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman,” and the Neil Diamond classic “I Am a Believer,” made famous by the Monkees, delivered here in a breathtakingly unique style that gave a rich wisdom to the material. On the moving Todd Rundgren song, “I Saw the Light,” which he wrote for his first wife Terry, Barb imbued the lyrics with a haunting quiet that was at once a heartfelt epiphany. The lady is a compelling story teller, and her evocative interpretations of contemporary music from diverse eras just blew me away. Many of her song choices had themes of expectations versus reality like Bruce Springsteen’s lustful lament, “The River,” about teenage lovers or B & F Bryant’s “Love Hurts,” which Jungr turned into a wrenchingly raw wail, breaking into the song from “This Old Heart of Mine.”
The lady’s humorous banter between numbers is nothing less than astonishing with her ironic take on the crazy dichotomies of life; she simply bursts with life before serving up another heart stopping little ditty that will leave you awestruck. She is the best cabaret performer I have witnessed in years, giving a powerful lesson in re-interpretation.
For more information on tour dates or Barb Jungr’s music go to www.barbjungr.co.uk/.webloc