Joe's Pub Launches ALBUM OF THE MONTH CLUB Variety Series with Ray Charles Birthday Tribute Today

Joe's Pub Launches ALBUM OF THE MONTH CLUB Variety Series with Ray Charles Birthday Tribute Today

In 1962, Ray Charles made history when he brought soul music and country music together in the same album: Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music. Now, more than 50 years later, just in time for the late legend's 84th birthday, Joe's Pub and the Album of the Month Club expand the palette by adding jazz, cabaret, Broadway, folk music, and bluegrass into Brother Ray's classic mix.

Tonight, September 23 at 9:30 pm, Joe's Pub presents the first in a ongoing series of shows celebrating great pop and jazz albums, during which classic songs will be explored and re-examined by a rotating cast of singers and musicians in styles covering jazz, pop, Broadway, cabaret, and blues. Curated by jazz and cabaret writer Will Friedwald, each show will explore the classic album from start to finish, with new interpretations of songs by contemporary artists. These performances will be affectionate and irreverent, respectful and gonzo--the idea is to compliment the classic recording, not to merely "cover" it.

For the initial show, which will also celebrate Charles' birthday, Album of the Month Club is examining a disc that came from an artist who virtually invented soul music and then set his sights on Nashville, thus creating a brilliant blend of rhythm and blues, country and western, with a lot of jazz inherent in the mix. The album was a 1962 bestseller and yielded one of the greatest hits of Charles' career, "I Can't Stop Loving You."

Among the singers rendering both traditional and off-beat versions of classic Ray Charles songs will be cabaret stars Nellie McKay, KT Sullivan, Natalie Douglas, Lauren Fox, and Marissa Mulder, acclaimed jazz singers Allan Harris and Nancy Harms, Matthew Saldivar from the Broadway musical Peter & The Star Catcher, sensational Staten Island-based vocalist Tony Babino, folk trio The Amigos, and performance artists, Poor Baby Bree and Puddles Pity Party.

Future shows in the Album of the Month Club series at Joe's Pub will include Frank Sinatra's September of My Years, Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde, Judy Garland's Live at Carnegie Hall (1961), Nat King Cole's After Midnight, The Beatles; Revolver, Noel Coward Live in Las Vegas, Tom Waits' Small Change, and hopefully many others.

Joe's Pub at Public Theater is located at 425 Lafayette Street near Astor Place in Manhattan. For reservations and information, call 212-967-7555 from noon to 8 PM Monday through Sunday.

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Stephen Hanks During more than 30 years as a magazine editor/writer, website writer, and book author for a variety of national magazines and websites, Stephen Hanks has written about sports, health and nutrition, parenting, politics, the media, and most recently, musical theater, and cabaret. While by day, Stephen is the Advertising Sales Director for Habitat Magazine (a publication covering life in New York Metro area co-ops and condos), by night he writes reviews and columns about New York City cabaret for BroadwayWorld.com. Stephen also writes feature stories about cabaret for Cabaret Scenes Magazine and CabaretScenes.org. He is also the Board President of Manhattan Musical Theatre Lab, which workshops new musicals in New York City, and he is the founder, producer and director of the Broadway Musical Fantasy Camp, which is a workshop for amateur performers that rehearses and presents staged readings of classic Broadway Musicals. In 2011, Stephen was an Associate Producer for the Off-Broadway show THE FARTISTE. Stephen most recently staged his debut solo cabaret show, "Beyond American Pie: The Don McLean Songbook" at the Metropolitan Room in New York. Please contact Stephen with your comments and questions at: stephenhanks41@gmail.com