BWW reviews: Actor/Singer DAN CALLAWAY Says Farewell to LA With Homespun Music and Warmth
Actor/singer Dan Callaway has been revered over the last decade in New York and Los Angeles for his fine tenor/baritone voice, and so it is with mixed feelings that we say goodbye to him as he leaves to assume a teaching position in his home state of Elon, North Carolina. We are indeed happy that through his teaching he will be sharing his great love of music with others, but on local musical stages he will be sorely missed. On Sunday August 17 Callaway presented a farewell concert at Sterling's Upstairs at the Federal that was full of the simplistic, homegrown music of his youth. Callaway was accompanied by a versatile three-piece band throughout, which included musical director Bobby Apperson on piano, Chris Novicki on drums and the multi-talented Korey Simeone on guitar, dobro and violin.
Idolizing James Taylor, Callaway opened with three of his tunes "Smiling Face", "Carolina in My Mind" and "Millworker" from the Broadway show Working. From the sweet, gentle sounds of a Glen Campbell, he slid into the complexities of Sondheim and "Finishing the Hat" from Sunday in the Park with George, displaying a super abundance of vocal artistry. Sondheim's is never easy to sing, and this song is a perfect example of the intricacies of art, in which the meticulously detailed sounds are a perfect match for the striking visuals. Callaway admits to not understanding the song as a student, but that through studying and digesting it, it made him grow as a performer/artist. More Sondheim with the thrilling "Marry Me a Little", a lilting busker song "Streets of London" and the lovely "Without a Song" were the other highspots. But perhaps the most fun of all was a medley Callaway put together to show just how impossible musical auditions can be entitled "Inappropriate Medley" that included rock/pop songs "Total Eclipse of the Heart", "Funkytown", "Alone" and "Don't Stop Believing". Pushing the limits with an over exaggeration of rock gyrations and wild and loud vocal mannerisms, Callaway came to life showing a comedic side that was - at least for me, utterly delicious but up to now missing from his repertoire. His quiet manner is perfect for Don Block's hymn-like "In the Palm of Your Hand" and "There is a Reason", with which he closed, but the cut loose, free and easy side of Callaway's versatility has been pushed down/ regretfully untapped. When/if he returns, he should explore more of it.
For the next chapter of your journey, God bless and may it be a fruitful one! Local audiences will miss you and your talented voice.