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Billy Corbett: Live at the Sharp Theater
Mahwah, NJ - 11/21/00
By Daina Kazmaier
(more articles from this author)
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The simple setup on stage couldn't have been a better fit for the performance presented by Billy Corbett- just a guy and his guitar can make the most heart-warming, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking music on earth. Corbett's passion was expressed even before he picked up his instrument. A single red rose for his mother in the audience was delivered personally by him soon after the initial applause died down. And then the magic began...

'Release' was the perfect choice to open up the set; Corbett was fancy with his fingers when he played the guitar and his luxurious voice caressed each chord. The tune started off with fingerpicking and then fell back into steady strumming. In each of his songs, Corbett told a story of life, whether it be his or anyone else's, each tale was easy to relate to. The next song, dubbed the 'Screaming Song' by his friends, showed exactly what Corbett was capable of in the vocal department. With an extremely varied (and controlled) range and bounties of emotion, the 'Screaming Song' defied any restraint and came across as liquid pain; Corbett didn't exactly 'scream' in the song, but his tears were felt. The lyrics also complemented the theme; the chorus, "coming so close/falling so hard" dealt with the frustration of unfulfilled love.

Corbett extended his vocal range in 'You Know I Know,' and just about reached a falsetto note in the chorus. A beautiful number with excellent vocals once again.

Introduced that night was a new tune called 'Better Part of You.' Again, keeping up with Corbett's high standards, the song fit in quite well with the rest of the familiar lineup. The chorus, though simple, put the message of the song straight up front: "She will make the better part of you/ She will take the better part of you..."

Midway through the set, Corbett switched over to his 12-string guitar, and played the catchy 'Closure' with confident ease. He interacted quite well with the crowd, always paying attention to comments and applause. Back to the 6-string for 'Exit' and a taste of Corbett's cynical side; "you know that when you leave I won't come running back for more/ and just don't let yourself get kicked in the ass by the door."

'Chasing Innocence' was an upbeat ditty that had a slight country twang. Definitely a crowd pleaser: "Hey there sister, give me some news/ 'cause I got smoke behind me and fire in my shoes/ I'm chasing time and it's getting away 'cause when I hit the breaks it's gone." Corbett's voice went from sweet to scratchy and back again through the number. Very well done. The remainder of the set continued to impressed me as well as the entire audience; the crowd wanted more after the last song.

The encore was a hit- a cover of Dave Matthew's 'All Along the Watchtower' rocked out with an upbeat chorus. Corbett nailed this one perfectly.

And for the closer, 'I am Dreaming' was a reminiscent ballad that touched everyone in the crowd in one way or another. In a song about his dreams, Corbett sang "I am chained/ shackled to this throne of hope."

Billy Corbett definitely knew how to captivate the crowd; he had everyone mesmerized with his angelic voice and witty lyrics. Definitely an artist that should be heard more; Corbett can not only sing, he can perform.

Set List:
Screaming Song
You Know I Know
Better Part Of You
Chasing Innocence
Just Another Day
Fade Away
All Along The Watchtower (Dave Matthews Cover)
I Am Dreaming

Mike B
President of RS Management
(845) 357 - 6334 work and home

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