It has been a long time since I've been in Bar Lubitsch on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Booker Ian Webber, former booker at the Cat Club on the Sunset Strip and an incredible musician in his own right, has done a remarkable job of booking the highest quality of acts for his weekly shows.
On this particular day he booked Alisha Zalkin and some of her friends in a celebration of the recent release of Zalkin's new EP, On This Road.
The ambiance of this venue is incredible. From the moment you walk in the door, you are transported to another time and place and the feeling permeates throughout. In the back room where the music happens, the space is warm and organic, with plenty of places to sit and enjoy the night's musical treats.
After a wonderful opening set by Joe Gillette, it was time for Zalkin to take the stage. I was so happy to be taking it all in with one of my dearest friends, Laura Goldfarb of Red Boot PR, her assistant Aili Watanabe, and songwriter extraordinaire Elaine Macaluso.
The stage was filled with some of LA's finest musicians - Dan Kalisher on guitar, Alex "Badass" Balderston on upright bass, Rob Humphreys on Cajon and Will Herrington on keys. Zalkin takes her seat on the stool at the front of the stage, her beauty reflecting off the mirror on the wall behind her. The lights on the stage come up and illuminate the glow of Zalkin's inner beauty as it bursts forth in the words of her song and the music of her band.
Over the next 40 minutes or so I was transfixed on the stage, watching the magic spread across the room. Zalkin's voice has the tone and timbre of a cross between Mariah Carey and Oletta Adams. It is rich and full, and you can feel the truth of her words as they uplift and encourage you to face life's difficulties with optimism and unrestrained love.
Zalkin's first song, On This Road, is the title cut of her EP. It is upbeat and positive, and laid the perfect foundation for the music that followed. Her second song, Follow Your Own Heart, is not on the new EP, but was written for the Three Percent Conference that Zalkin recently attended, which is geared towards Women in Advertising, which make up only three percent of that industry.
You could feel Zalkin's soul and passion in her third song, Woman in Me, which included some incredible guitar work by Kalisher. The magic continued with Way Over Yonder and Let the Music Play. Then, just when you thought it couldn't get any better, Zalkin busted out with a cover of Mariah Carey's Always be my Baby before returning to her original material.
Zalkin's last three songs were her strongest of the night and featured the powerful Fearless, the uplifting Beautiful You and the inspiring I Believe in Angels. Check out the video of Fearless below. Fearless was co-written by the amazing Mary Ruth Schuler.
After the power of Zalkin's show, I had to take some time to relax in the bar with my friends. All in all it was one of the best nights of music I have ever experienced. Zalkin came and joined us at the bar. I felt like I was in the presence of a close friend. Alisha - thanks for sharing your heart and soul in your music. Whether or not you go far, your music has impacted my life in a good way.