Critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Randy Newman is hoping his audiences will “Laugh and Be Happy” when he begins a new round of touring this week. After completing a handful of shows on the East Coast, the satirical pianist is launching a month-long tour of the Midwest and West Coast.
The trek opens October 9 with a performance at Bloomington Center for Performing Arts in Bloomington, IL, and concludes October 25 with a gig at John G. Shedd Institute for Arts in Eugene, OR. Highlights for the 12-show run include an October 14 set at Jackson Hall in Nashville, TN, and an October 22 concert at Moore Theatre in Seattle, WA.
Newman is touring in support of his August 2008 release, “Harps and Angels,” his first album of original material since 1999. The record includes the track “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country,” a political lampoon that the pianist created and worked into his repertoire late in 2006.
The song, originally released as an iTunes exclusive, gained notice in the U.S. when the New York Times approached Newman to publish the lyrics as an op-ed article. And though “A Few Words” was named the No. 2 song of 2007 by Rolling Stone, the singer-songwriter has stated that the track’s blunt approach is not his favorite.
“I don’t like writing songs that are right on the nose, Tom Lehrer-like songs, commenting on what’s happening in the moment because songs like that will go away,” Newman explained in a statement on his Web site. “This one will go away because this administration will go away, and we’ll never have one quite like it. But I wanted to say something, so I did.”
Newman debuted in 1968 with his eponymous album, and later gained a surprise hit with “Short People,” a track off 1977’s “Little Criminals.” Though Newman has only released 13 albums over the course of his 40-year career, he has wracked up songwriting credits by penning tunes for other artists, including Three Dog Night’s hit single “Mama Told Me (Not to Come).”
However, Newman has become best known for his film scores, which earned him 17 Academy Award nominations since 1982. Most recently, he has become the go-to composer for Pixar Animation Studios, composing scores for hits like “Toy Story” and “A Bug’s Life.” His work for Pixar led to his only Oscar win in 2002 for “If I Didn’t Have You,” an original song from “Monsters, Inc.”
Randy Newman itinerary:
(Dates subject to change.)
|October 9||Bloomington, IL||Bloomington Center for Performing Arts|
|October 10||Waukegan, IL||Genesee Theatre|
|October 11||Kansas City, MO||Folly Theater|
|October 12||Des Moines, IA||Hoyt Sherman Performing Arts Center|
|October 14||Nashville, TN||Jackson Hall|
|October 15||Knoxville, TN||Bijou Theatre|
|October 17||San Francisco, CA||Davies Symphony Hall|
|October 18||Monterey, CA||Golden State Theatre|
|October 19||Santa Barbara, CA||Lobero Theatre|
|October 22||Seattle, WA||Moore Theatre|
|October 23||Portland, OR||Aladdin Theatre|
|October 25||Eugene, OR||John G. Shedd Institute for Arts|