One On One Session at City Winery New York, June 2016
Al Stewart is the legendary singer and songwriter famous for many hit songs of the 1970’s. He wrote songs such as On the Border, Roads to Moscow, Time Passages, and Year of the Cat. Al Stewart is great for corporate parties and large fundraising events and casinos.
Al Stewart emerged from the 1960’s and 1970’s folk scene to achieve stardom with the 1976 platinum album, Year of the Cat. Billboard Magazine said that album was “one of the greatest records of its time”. Over the years, Al has performed with Andy Summers of the Police, Robert Fripp, Bob Dylan, John Martyn, Jimmy Page, Yoko Ono, and Fairport Convention. From the London coffee bar scene to the Hollywood hills, Al Stewart found fame writing finely crafted songs about love and loss.
Al and musical partner Dave Nachmanoff released the live acoustic album, Uncorked, in 2010. Having a musical catalogue of more than 20 albums’ worth of songs, Al’s music has endured since the fertile folk scene of London in the late ’60s. He counts among his contemporaries the likes of guitar wizards Bert Jansch and John Renbourn, singer-songwriters Roy Harper and Richard Thompson, and a former roommate named Paul Simon – who gained much celebrity upon returning to America.
Al and Nachmanoff could actually do three or four full shows and never play the same song twice. Their work can be considered as even better now than it was in the past, thanks to the acoustic touring configuration that brings the music to audiences crisp and clear.
Al Stewart’s name will forever be tied to his breakout hits “Year of the Cat” and “Time Passages”. This is unfortunate, because there is much more to this whimsical Scottish folksinger, who weaves humor and historical figures into his polished story-songs. Happily, Uncorked, a collection of 12 songs from Al’s back catalogue, recorded live with brilliant lead guitarist and verbal sparring partner Dave Nachmanoff, is a perfect introduction to that “other” Al Stewart. The album’s title has a double meaning: it refers to wine, which is one of Al’s great passions (he is an award-winning wine connoisseur); it also refers to the live and unplugged format of the recording, which features only the two performers and their acoustic guitars. This stripped-down arrangement allows both musicians’ nifty guitar work to shine through. Indeed, on “News from Spain”, Dave performs the piano solo (played by Rick Wakeman in the studio version) alone on guitar, and he does so flawlessly. The live recording also captures the performers’ easygoing banter onstage, including a long song introduction titled “Auctioning Dave”, and some verbal contretemps “hidden” after the final track. Quite intentionally, there are no Al Stewart hits in this collection. (Live versions of those hits were previously included on the 1992 album Rhymes in Rooms.) Rather, these songs are chosen from the best of Al’s early songwriting career, from 1967’s “Bedsitter Images” to 1988’s “Last Days of the Century”. Several of Al’s historical songs, such as “Palace of Versailles”, “Warren Harding”, and “Old Admirals” are featured. Overall, these 12 songs, recorded at three northeastern venues during a tour in November 2008, are excellent representatives of Al Stewart’s long career, and show off the fine musicianship and easy rapport that these two performers have on stage. Highly recommended.SS - SingOut! (Jun 29, 2010)
Uncorked is an intimate setting played in front of a small, but appreciative audience. It’s music is rich and classic Al Stewart, music you can fall in love with. If you are an Al Stewart fan, spanning beyond his peak years, than this set is a must for you. The sound is wonderful and unhampered providing for undiluted Al Stewart. I believe you’re going to love this Live set.Matt Rowe (Music Tap)
British talent Al Stewart has always been obsessed with romantic literature and history, marking him as the most incongruous of folk-flavored “pop” singers. ‘Year of the Cat’ delivered Al a fluke hit – once. And the man is still going his own merry way on Sparks of Ancient Light (A-), citing the likes of Greek mythology, former president William McKinley, an Elvis sighting and ‘(A Child’s View of) The Eisenhower Years.’ But the guy sings and writes as well as he ever did, and in his quirky, bemused and literate way he’s delivered one of the finest albums of his career.Jonathan Takiff (Philadelphia Daily News)
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