Lynda Carter: The Other Side of Trouble
America's beloved icon best known for her role as Wonder Woman kicked off a national tour this month at Jazz at Lincoln Center's Appel Room with "Lynda Carter: The Other Side of Trouble." The talented singer teamed up with Nashville's best studio musicians to present a lighthearted evening of song.
Carter bounded onto the stage looking younger than her years in black leggings, sparkly sneakers, and a blousy leather jacket, her hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was much more winsome and silly than the stalwart characters she is often tapped to play. You could tell by her light and easy stage presence that she was ready to relax and have some fun with things.
"I want to welcome my family and friends to the beginning of our spring tour," said Carter, adding, "and this is one of the ultimate great rooms to play."
Singing, "yeah, yeah, yeah," she launched into "Mercy," most recently recorded by Welsh singer Duffy. Carter's funny pantomimes paired well with a voiced suited to cabaret. She followed it with the country track "Put the Gun Down" by ZZ Ward, kicking off a spate of country songs about cheating men and vindictive women, even reimagining Robert Palmer's "Who's Fooling Who?"
It didn't hurt that her backup band consists of some of the most talented country musicians out there. And Carter made sure she gave each one his due, from leader Paul Leim on drums to Matt Rollings on piano, Glen Caruba on percussion, Shane Keister on keyboard, Sam Levine on sax, Kerry Marx on guitar and Danny O'Lannerghty on bass. A truly gracious performer, she took time between each song to introduce every musician, and let them have a chance to shine.
The same respect was given to her talented backup singers, Cindy Richardson-Walker, Kira Small and Drea Renee. She relied on them to help provide harmony in songs like the funky "Take Me to the River," and the bluesy gospel number "You Never Need Nobody."
Carter tended to favor rollicking, country-tinged songs with big choruses and wacky vocals relaying simple messages. Clearly, she was very happy to be entertaining folks with her singing, which she began doing at the tender age of 14 -- long before her golden lasso days ever began.
In the style of Patsy Cline, she sang the original tune "After All These Years" to her "husband of 33 years, a wonderful father and my partner." She followed it up with an original rockabilly tune, "The Other Side of Truth," singing, "Read my lips/ what used to leave me breathless now just makes me restless and bored." Wonder who that one's for?
With Caruba on the square bass box drum called the cajon, Carter busted out the Eric Clapton tune "Change the World," with a funky pairing of electric guitar and sax. It was a bit out of her range, but she managed fine. After that, she called her grown daughter Jessica to the stage to duet on the Everly Brothers songs "Dream" and the jazzy cut "Gone, Gone, Gone."
In a nod to the jazz part of Jazz at Lincoln Center, she belted out Billie Holiday's later hit "You've Changed," then followed it with two songs she wrote for the award-winning post-apocalyptic video game "Fallout 4," including "Good Neighbor," sung in character as a seedy video game nightclub performer.
She followed with a boogie-woogie number, a funky finger-snapper, and a slowed-down rendition of the Motown classic, "Stop, In the Name of Love." Carter got the crowd clapping along with "Old Time Rock and Roll," and followed it with a swinging, drum-fueled jazz tune, and a song from one of her CBS specials.
She ended a very generous set with a rockabilly number, urging everyone to get to their feet and dance by saying, "What, are you gonna wait 'til you're dead?" The logic was inarguable, and the crowd sprung to its feet to give Carter a wonderful ending to an enjoyable evening.
"Lynda Carter: The Other Side of Trouble" plays through April 22 at The Appel Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, 60th Street at Broadway in New York City. For information, visit http://www.jazz.org/events/t-6395/ For tickets to her show in other cities, visit http://lyndacarter.com