Johnette Napolitano | 03.31.14

live johnetteShe simply plays what she feels like playing, and draws you into her world for the hour long set.



After many years in the music business, Johnette Napolitano enjoys the artistic freedom of being able to play anything she wants when she plays live. Sunday night’s show at Blueberry Hill was an eclectic mix of song and spoken word, with readings from her book, Rough Mix, as well as the live debut of two new songs.

In the intimate setting of Duck Room, Napolitano delivered classic Concrete Blonde tunes, as well as works from her solo albums. This is not a show dependent on her work with Concrete Blonde; it is a personable event, with the set changing every night. She simply plays what she feels like playing, drawing listeners in to her world for the hour-long set.

Napolitano has many a tale to tell, and can do so with a melancholy laugh. Reading from her book, she recreated the account of going to see her speed dealer back in the day, along with the lyrics to one of her newest tracks, “I Know the Ghost” (available only on limited-edition 7-inch white vinyl).

Armed with only her acoustic guitar, Napolitano chose a nice mix of material. From solo tunes such as the new “Rosaile” to classic Concrete Blonde material including “Joey,” “Dance the Night Away,” “Mexican Moon,” and the haunting “I Don’t Need a Hero,” the songs came across in a raw and emotional way. In great voice, Napolitano was gracious, thanking the crowd several times for listening, and not talking over her. This special tour is Napolitano at her best: in a small room with an acoustic guitar, singing her heart out.

Displaying a love for everything from flamenco (which she has studied for over 20 years) to Linda Ronstadt (one of her idols, whom she covers on this tour), the live show—while short in time—did not disappoint. With grace, humility, and a grand sense of humor, Napolitano left us wanting more: more tales, more tunes, more her.

Opening the show was singer/songwriter Jimmy Griffin of the Incurables. A good vocalist and guitarist, he writes and performs all of his own material, and made a nice coupling with Napolitano. | Marc Farr

About Marc Farr 244 Articles
Marc Farr is the Live Music & Assignments Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. He's so invaluable to us, we've nicknamed him Mr. Music. Reach out if you have coverage ideas! "I know it's only rock and roll...but I like it!"
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