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2 singers

I got to see two of my favorite singers this week, Amy Winehouse in a fascinating and disturbing documentary that showcased her amazing voice & the extreme disfunction around her: a mother who said from the time Amy was 5 she couldn't control her, as though she had no obligation to try, and a father who said at one point that Amy couldn't go into rehab because she had to write her new record. And the horrible junkie husband who as far as I could tell had nothing whatsoever going for him.

Tony Bennett was lovely, tender & encouraging. He called her the greatest jazz singer of her generation and said she should be considered in the same category as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.

But her voice. I remember the first time I heard her, I knew I would buy everything she every came out with. I had no idea of her personal life & to tell the truth, I couldn't even understand most of the words so I didn't even pick up what she was talking about. Didn't matter—it was all there: the rolling humor, the grief, the pleasure in her skill without vanity.

Hayes Carll, who we saw at the Mercury lounge last night, is a great songwriter as well as a terrific singer, guitarist, and performer. Why isn't he better known? Because he's Texas-based? He puts you into the song from the first line and manages to tell a simple story that's also mysterious. His songs seem like you've always known them without being clichéd. His way with a phrase and the emotion reminds Johnny of Ted Berrigan.

You can check him out on YouTube. The caption links (or should) to "Another Like You." Also look for "Beaumont," "She Left Me for Jesus, "Bye Bye Baby."

He's playing again in 2 weeks at the Merc—don't miss it.
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