Over the years, Nicole Henry has risen from a local favorite to the darling of the Manhattan cabaret scene and tours abroad, but her local fans flock to welcome her home whenever they can. And so they did at a recent sold-out concert celebrating the release of "So Good, So Right," her new CD. And, as the title says, it certainly was.
The Colony Theater afforded Henry's fans the opportunity to see her in a large venue, instead of the small, intimate clubs in Miami where she usually performs. So it was sheer delight to see her commend the stage, not only with her voice, but with her body language as well. In fact, Henry's toned arms elicited as much admiration as did her wide vocal range, but her fans here can take such liberties as they consider themselves family.
Although Henry is not a native of the Magic City, she began performing while still a student here at the University of Miami, so her Miami fans take great pride in her success, whether she's garnering rave reviews from The New York Times, hitting the Top 10 of Billboard's Jazz Chart, or singing just down the street at Van Dyke's.
Her new CD is filled with songs of the 70s, because, says Henry, "These are the songs I grew up with, dancing around the kitchen with my mother." The songs from the CD included feel good hits, like "Stuck in the Middle with You," "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Use Me," as well as the sultry title track, "So Good, So Right." She performed the plaintive ballad, "Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore," and made James Taylor's iconic "Fire and Rain" her own. A Henry rendition of Stevie Nick's famous "Landslide" proved the perfect encore.
The new CD also shows Henry's maturity as a songwriter, especially in the beautiful song, "A Little Time Alone." She also performed "Hush Now," from her previous CD, "Embraceable." The tunes were co-written by Doug Emery and Oliver Rockberger, respectively.
It was Henry's night, but she generously welcomed two young singers from the YoungArts program as her opening act; award-winners Grace Weber and her band, and Jaylon Ballard. In addition, Henry was backed by a very talented band, among them the stand out bass player Eric England. The concert was also a fundraiser for YoungArts, the national organization that nurtures young talent, where Henry is a master teacher.
Towards the end of the show, Henry goosed the crowd into a frenzy, as she motioned for two more singers to join her on stage. They were Nicolas Bright, director of the choir at Unity on the Bay church and Maryel Epps, the beloved vocalist who presides over the legendary Sunday gospel brunch at City Hall the Restaurant in Miami.
In fact, even the Miami moon shone brightler to welcome Henry home.
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