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Graveyard Smash

| October 31, 2012 | 0 Comments

Don’t be fooled by Leon Russell‘s getup. The shock of white tendrils and matching beard isn’t some attempt to look like Gandalf from The Lord Of The Rings despite the fact that the icon kicks off a two-night stand at the Mayne Stage on All Hallows’ Eve. Russell’s always possessed a ghoulish aura, but now at 70 he appears downright ghostly. Spending most of his illustrious career on the sidelines (peer over the shoulder of any rock great in a photo from the ’60s or ’70s and find Russell’s top hat and aviator glasses hunched over a piano), he succumbed to the ravages of old age and audience indifference until Elton John basically resurrected his musical muscle with 2010’s The Union, a collaboration between the two ivory tinklers and super producer T Bone Burnett. Experiencing the supernatural powers emanating from Russell’s fingertips is the equivalent of cracking open a history book. His resume reads like a Rock “N” Roll 101 class: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, and The Byrds all benefitted from his unique blend of blues, gospel, and soul. A key puzzle piece in Phil Spector‘s “Wall of Sound,” Russell also penned “A Song For You,” the ultimate forgiveness plea to a jilted lover. If this spooky holiday warrants sugar-bingeing and skanktifying outerwear, surely Russell can relay a story or two (maybe even a riff) from the original “Monster Mash” recording sessions. (Wednesday and Thursday@Mayne Stage.)

— Janine Schaults

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Category: Featured, Stage Buzz, Weekly

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