Pin It
Favorite

The Sound of Rusty Farm Implements 


Two intriguing aspects of Howard Fishman’s upcoming date at The Falcon on November 10. First, the venerable venue’s “pay-what-you-will” door policy, which embraces individual agency. Second, Fishman’s reluctance to let anyone know in advance which of his various musical pursuits will be the focus—requiring an unusual amount of trust from a prospective audience.

“My shows are ‘chef’s choice,’” the affable singer-guitarist-composer-bandleader says from his Brooklyn apartment. “The people that keep coming back are comfortable with me serving up whatever I’m serving up.”

The chutzpah! But be advised: It’s a good thing. Lots of folks keep coming back. (Go early for dinner. It will not, however, be cooked by Fishman.) In a world of paralyzing choice, trusting Fishman is a grand idea; regardless of which particular musical menu he sort of follows, this guy captivates, on CD and especially live. Fishman draws at will from 10 eclectic CDs from the last 12 years that veer from rollicking New Orleans raveups to Hoagy Carmichael chestnuts to singer-songwriter confessionals to a brilliant, funked-up rendition of Wall of Voodoo’s 1983 classic “Mexican Radio.” The sounds cover a lot of terrain, unified at the center by Fishman, around whose rabbinical charisma everything swirls. Fishman’s voice, like his attitude, is paradoxical in that it gives pleasure while reducing expectations; his Waits-Cohen-Reed croon, accurately described as “a rusty farm implement,” is suffused with authority, passion, and yeoman charm.

When asked why he employs such a broad sonic palette, Fishman, who also painted the covers for his last three CDs, says: “I just don’t like to limit myself. Genres are like tubes of paint, different flavors you throw in to make a picture; in and of themselves they’re not that interesting.”

When I inquire which of his various ensembles he’ll be bringing to The Falcon, he chuckles, “I can’t answer that.” It doesn’t matter anyway, apparently. One of Fishman’s gifts is his mettle as a leader; of the stellar musicians he employs, he says: “The people I play with are malleable. I can push them in any direction.”

The cojones! Well. . . Fishman’s been around and frankly, whatever it is, he’s got this. In addition to an early life as a Eugene O’Neill obsessive, theater director, and actor, Fishman has busked on New Orleans streets and Brooklyn subway platforms, toured Romania (releasing a song cycle about it), and wowed audiences from the Algonquin Oak Room in Manhattan to Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre to Le Petit Journal in Paris. I double dog dare anyone to heckle him. In any language.

There are precious few acts on the touring circuit today who, at the drop of a porkpie hat, can whip out anything from a rollicking gumbo-flavored rendition of “Down by the Riverside,” to a Tin Pan Alley standard to a deeply personal, fuzz-bass infused breakup song. And there are even fewer venues as classy and warm as Marlboro’s musicians mecca The Falcon, where art and commerce harmoniously coexist and the whatever-you-can-afford policy actually pays off. Once you make the decision of how much to donate for Fishman’s set, you can surrender to venue and artist, both of whom will repay your trust with quality and pleasant surprise.

Howard Fishman will perform at The Falcon in Marlboro on Thursday, November 10 at 7pm. (845) 236-7970; www.liveatthefalcon.com.
click to enlarge Howard Fishman plays The Falcon in Marlboro on November 10. - JACK  VARTOOGIAN
  • Jack Vartoogian
  • Howard Fishman plays The Falcon in Marlboro on November 10.

Speaking of...

Pin It
Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Making the Cut: Decora

    A more serious and committed Hudson Valley musical figure than Decora does not come to mind. Everything the 32-year-old does and says comes with a breathtaking level of locked-down, unwaveringly intense focus.
    • Nov 1, 2015
  • CD Review: Samuel Claiborne's "Love, Lust, and Genocide"

    A review of the latest release from Samuel Claiborne.
    • Dec 1, 2015

Hudson Valley Events

submit event
Flower Show @ Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar

Flower Show

Thu., June 22, 6-7 p.m., Fri., June 23, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sat., June 24, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun., June 25, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. — What could be more exhilarating than fresh flowers in June? Feast your...
Michelle Stuart @ Dia:Beacon

Michelle Stuart

Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through April 1 — Dia will present Michelle Stuart’s four part rubbing Sayreville Strata Quartet (1976)....

View all of today's events

Latest in Music

  • Rock and Resist
  • Rock and Resist

    Rock and Resist will bring community action groups and musicians together at the Bearsville Theater on June 11.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Woodstock's Colony Makes a Comeback
  • Woodstock's Colony Makes a Comeback

    Spring is, of course, a time of great renewal. And perhaps for the Hudson Valley music scene this year's greatest spring-renewal story is the reopening of Woodstock's former Colony Cafe as, simply, Colony.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • Nightlife Highlights: Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan Duo
  • Nightlife Highlights: Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan Duo

    Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan duo perform on June 28 at Daryl's House Club in Pawling.
    • Jun 1, 2017
  • More »

Related to Music

  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch
  • The Moonlights Sunday Brunch

    The Moonlights, a debut musical collaboration for families, is making the rounds at a series of live performances, including two of the upcoming Sunday Brunch at the Falcon in Marlboro.
    • Mar 20, 2017
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park
  • Opera in Phoenicia Park

    With its open-air format, where attendees picnic in the parks and watch the stars emerge during performances, and its $5 youth tickets, the Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice is the perfect place to share with children a love of music and theater, in a variety of styles.
    • Jul 25, 2016
  • More »

More by Robert Burke Warren

Hudson Valley Tweets