BWW Reviews: Seth Glier Charms Rockwood Music Hall
Nestled in the cozy, subterranean concert space that is Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3, Seth Glier celebrated the release of his latest album on Friday, April 17 in New York City. In the intimate venue, he treated the packed to capacity room of fans with charismatic performances of songs from previous albums and from his newest one, If I Could Change One Thing.
He opened the show with the stirring "Man I Used to Be" from his 2013 record Things I Should Let You Know. With this song it is hard to believe that Glier is only 26 years old. His lyrics and the evocative narrative of the song seem to pour from a soul that has lived many years more than he has. With earnest, heartfelt vigor he then launched into the romantic and uplifting "Our Song" from his new album. From 2011's The Next Right Thing, he sang the moody and titular "The Next Right Thing" with spirited gusto, dark tonality, and pulsating drums.
The heartbreaking "You Wear It Well," which was inspired by his parent's recent divorce, from the new album was performed with tangible emotionality. Conversely, the cheerful "Lauralee" (from The Next Right Thing) was sung with vibrant charm. Returning to material from the new album, he sang the heartrending "Lift You Up," in which the speaker of the song can no longer be the person who holds his lover up. His lyrics and lush tenor-baritone instrument perfectly convey the devastation of resignation and the loss of a true love at the same time on the powerfully rich tune. This song was chased with a sterling rendition of the new album's "Love is a Language," which is inspired by his brother who is diagnosed with Autism and is non-verbal.
With a knack for gorgeous melancholy, Glier performed "Scars" from his new album. This anthem to overcoming adversity is my favorite song from If I Could Change One Thing, as it reminds us that "we're stripped down to our core/No disguises anymore/A picture starts to form/We're capable of changing" with lyrics that discuss the literal and metaphorical scars that we showoff and keep hidden. To lighten the mood, he sang a comedic song, "Craigslist," about finding all of your belongings on Craigslist as a jilted lover exacts revenge. Then, Glier ended the set with the beautiful "Standing Still" from his new album.
For an encore, he, his bassist, and his exceptionally talented blind saxophonist Joe Neary performed an a Capella, almost barbershop quartet, rendition of "You Always Hurt the One You Love" (Doris Fisher, Allan Roberts). While unexpected when compared to singer-songwriter and bluesy country songs that made up the rest of the set, each of the three men showed incredible vocal talent and controlled harmonizing on the sprightly tune.
It's hard to fit Glier into one genre, as he smartly mixes modalities from a handful of styles to create his unique voice. Lyrically, Glier can write a sad song like the best of country singers. Musically, Glier uses the soundscape of the singer-songwriter genre and weaves in tastes of the folksy. Then, he keenly utilizes Neary several different saxophones to add resplendent blues emotionality to his songs.
MPress Records released Seth Glier's If I Could Change One Thing on Tuesday April 7, 2014. The record can be purchased from iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere music is sold. For more information about Glier, please visit http://sethglier.com. You can also follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.