2013 saw the beginning of a novel partnership between the new label Broadway Records, dedicated to Broadway and Off Broadway-related recordings, and 54 BELOW, a classically designed state-of-the-art nightclub located just a few blocks from the heart of Times Square below the legendary Studio 54. Norbert Leo Butz made his cabaret debut performing his Memory & Mayhem concerts on August 5, 10, and 11, 2012. These performances were so well received by fans ad critics alike, that he will return to 54 BELOW this summer with Mystery & Mayhem on June 7, 8, 21, and 22.
Norbert Leo Butz's Memory & Mayhem - Live at 54 BELOW was recorded in August 2012. Aaron Ankrum Mixed the album and Greg Reierson mastered it to preserve Norbert Leo Butz's raw and energetic cabaret performances. Whether you've seen Norbert Leo Butz live or just enjoyed his voice on cast albums (i.e. WICKED, The Last Five Years, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Catch Me If You Can), Memory & Mayhem: Live at 54 BELOW is a live album that any music enthusiast can enjoy.
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Norbert Leo Butz's spirited performance on the live album is absorbing and captivating, complete with rollicking, blues-inspired rock vocals and spoken anecdotes from his life. He sings everything from indie/singer-songwriter favorites to country standards, and also peppers in some hit songs from his Broadway career.
Tthere is not a single track that is weak. "Home" and his rendition of The Civil Wars' "Poison and Wine" with Lauren Kennedy are each powerful and richly folksy tracks. The interpolation of "Wade in the Water" into "Home" makes the song all the more stirring and evocative. "The Waking" lets Butz show off the softer, jazzier aspects of his voice.
"Killing the Blues" and "Georgia on My Mind" both capture the tonal and emotional blues elements of his multifaceted vocal styling. And for fans of his impressive Broadway belt, he playfully recreates "I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You," a cut song from The Last Five Years, and a mesmerizing mash-up of Johnny Cash's "Sixteen Tons" and "Great Big Stuff" from the Broadway musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
I can easily see each of the songs, whether they represent or blend the country, rock, Broadway, or folk styles, becoming staples on iPods, MP3 Players, smart phones, and CDs. Mayhem & Memories - Live at 54 BELOW was released on January 15. It can be purchased from iTunes and Amazon.