Musician of the Day: LAURA NYRO is the subject of so much admiration I simply couldn’t find one song to showcase. Laura Who you say? Well that’s pretty much what most folks say, yet she has been an enormous inspiration to some of the greatest artists of the modern era including: Jackson Browne, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Tori Amos, Rickie Lee Jones, Cyndi Lauper, Alice Cooper, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, Paul Shaffer, Melissa Manchester and Elvis Costello. Elton John said he, “idolized her…. The soul, the passion, just the out and out audacity of the way her rhythmic and melody changes came was like nothing I’ve heard before.” Her biggest hits were recorded by a myriad of well known artists such as Barbra Streisand, The 5th Dimension, Peter Paul and Mary, Blood Sweat & Tears just to name a few. She was also Managed by David Geffen before he started Asylum Records and was one of his first successes. If you don’t know her work, Laura Nyro would be a great research project. I’ve always thought of her music as stream of consciousness compositions. She switches up her rhythms (not just her tempi) without a moment’s notice and likewise her melodic lines within a single composition are quixotic and viscerally delivered. I finally selected, “Timer” as a featured song. God and love, the Devil, the nature of reality and the meaning of life are all themes which constantly appear and are beautifully explored in her music. I think that is why she transcends genres and appeals to every songsmith on some level. As a bonus, there’s a link to Alison Krauss singing, “And When I Die” on Billy Childs album, “Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro.” This recording gave me so many goosebumps I almost had to leave the room… but then nothing could drag me away from Alison Krauss singing Laura Nyro. I feel like I’m the one who’s died and gone to heaven!
Laura Nyro “Timer” 1969
Alison Krauss “And When I Die” 2014
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