By Grace Bennett
The first time I heard Frank Shiner sing (several songs) was at a (once in a blue moon) Karaoke night at the Quaker Hill Tavern in Chappaqua. He was there with his family simply enjoying an evening out. Frank sang “Georgia On My Mind,” and I remember thinking, “Wait a minute. That’s not fair. This guy must be a pro.” I did find out in time that, yes, he surely is, having started his career as a singer/actor.
Fast forward to last week or so, when I saw a post on Facebook that his show “The Real Me Live Tour” was soon to take place at a celebrated NYC venue, The Cutting Room, and decided, as Inside Chappaqua, I needed to check this Frank Shiner out some. I’m glad I did.
I invited two friends; one, Suzanna, my college roommate from way back when; another, a friend of my daughter’s, Max, who lives just blocks away from The Cutting Room and who recently helped me out with something…so: favor, returned. My old roommate and I are both tail end baby boomers, yet we ALL appreciated Frank’s repertoire of ’70s and ‘80s favorites, from Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” to Van Morrison’s “Brand New Day” while sipping our drinks and enjoying light fare. (The Cutting Room is also a full service restaurant.)
In the middle of his show opener: “(Looking for) The Heart of Saturday Night” by Tom Waits, Suzanna immediately offered, “Wow, he sounds like an American Tom Jones!” Frank’s playful approach to the stage and his joyful delivery are indeed reminiscent of Jones, only his voice is more sultry, in my humble opinion. Frank is definitely a sexy performer in a Harrison Ford meets Bruce Springsteen kind of way!
But what’s most sexy about him, I would like to add, is his obvious love and devotion to his wife Suzanne, who was there too at a center table surrounded by family and friends, no doubt reveling in the moments. First, Frank related how he won over his new love interest when he sang: “I Put a Spell on You” ( Jay Hawkins). Later, he sang ”The Real Me” dedicating the show to Suzanne’s victory over cancer. Nice!
Other songs, “It’s a Sin when you Love Somebody” (Jimmy Webb) and “Feels Like Home” (Randy Newman) were also wonderfully delivered.
A stand out member of the band supporting Frank with background vocals was the elegant and jazzy Anthea White; star quality, too! Frank and Anthea rocked a duet: Paul Simon’s “Long, Long Day.” Accompanying vocals were: David Cutler, on Bass; Mark Palmer, keyboard and musical director; Hiroyuki Matsuura on Drums; Jay Rodriquez, Saxophone/Flute; and Chris Goercke on Guitar.
At the start of the evening, Frank exclaimed, “Someone pinch me. I’m in The Freakin’ Cutting Room!” The evening ended with show goers snatching up his CD: The Real Me in the club’s grand lobby, and Frank greeting happy post show goers, including me. For upcoming shows, visit www.frankshiner.com