If you're a Fredericton-area resident (like me), give yourself a Valentine's treat Tuesday evening and take in Erin Costelo's show at the Playhouse. One of the region's top singer-songwriters and producers (Kaia Kater, Leanne Hoffman, Roxy & the Underground Soul Sound), Costelo is doing a show paying tribute to not one, but two albums. One of them is a big favourite and influence for her, and the other is one of her own, celebrated its tenth anniversary.
For the past few years, Costelo has on special occasions performed a tribute show to Carole King's classic 1971 album Tapestry. The epitome of the singer-songwriter genre of the early '70's, it was for a time the biggest-selling album in history, and features such hits as "I Feel The Earth Move," "It's Too Late," and "You've Got A Friend." It was an album where fans knew every note, and it's fun to watch folks sing along with every word at Costelo's concert. She's the perfect interpreter for the album, not engaged in a slavish reproduction but rather, she's invested in the material, and you can tell how these classics helped her become the meaningful writer she is today.
I've seen her do the Tapestry show before, and while I'm looking forward to it again, I'm even more pleased that Costelo has chosen to feature her own album We Can Get Over as well. It's her third, from 2012, and was the one that won me over. As soon as I heard the vintage eloquence of opener "Oh Me Oh My," with its 60s soul/girl group vibe, I felt I'd found a kindred lover of emotional, highly-crafted pop music. The references are everywhere, from the electric piano ballad "I Don't Know Anything," surely an equal of a Roberta Flack number, to the Muscle Shoals Southern soul of "Down Down," to the Randy Newman grandeur of the title cut. I can't wait to hear these songs again.
The fact that her two following albums, Down Below, The Status Quo, and Sweet Marie, are even stronger is a testament to her obvious artistry, my only complaint being the lack of more releases. But of course, she's been plenty busy with production projects, and now her new job as the producer of CBC Radio's East Coast Music Hour. In the meantime, watch out for a vinyl reissue of We Can Get Over very soon, as well as a new video version of the song Hold Me, featuring one Matt Andersen. Meanwhile, the Tapestry/We Can Get Over tour continues:
Tuesday, Feb. 14 - Fredericton, The Playhouse
Thursday, Apr. 06 - Saint John, Imperial Theatre
Saturday, Apr. 08 - Annapolis Royal, King's Theatre
Saturday, Apr. 15 - Windsor, Mermaid Theatre