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The Spire
The Spire, Plymouth, MA

Zoë Lewis with Barbara Phaneuf ~ 2015 May 2 ~ The Spire ~ Plymouth, MA

... by Joanne Corsano ...

Zoë Lewis accompanying herself on keyboard, guitar, and ukulele. Opener: Barbara Phaneuf accompanying herself on guitar.

Set List
{corrections to song titles welcome}

Gringo - Rotary Phone - 78 - I Don't Like Snow - Prince of Love - Never Too Old - Barbizon - Plastic Soup - Rescuing Miss Williams - Breakfast Blues - When Dog Meets Wolf - Anything But Love {with Barbara Phaneuf} ... encore ... Snow White


Off to The Spire, a new favorite venue one block above Plymouth Rock. The venue is a former church, and the seats are church pews, but with comfortable padding. Downstairs art classes are being held. There is a full bar in the lobby behind the performance space. But this is not a barroom; it is a listening room, as the M.C. introducing the show made a point of emphasizing.

The opening act was Barbara Phaneuf, a singer-songwriter from Fairhaven, MA, who played an entertaining half-hour of her own songs and a few covers, including a thoughtful version of the Animals' song "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood." She is a very good guitar player with a nice voice and a likeable personality. She had borrowed a watch from Zoë and beseeched the audience to remind her to give it back.

When Zoë came on stage, it turns out that she had borrowed Barbara's guitar, so that makes them even. Zoë played a 13 song set featuring a few songs from her latest album, Rotary Phone, and a few songs I hadn't heard before. She played more than half on the piano, with the rest on Barb's guitar or on ukulele. She referred to Ms. Phaneuf as "Barb" except it sounded to these New England ears like "Bob." Barb joined her for one song.

Barbara Phaneuf
Barbara Phaneuf

I had my camera, and after a few songs I pointed it at Zoë. She saw me, leaned in my direction, and posed. "I'm such a ham!" she declared in that lovely English accent that years of living in Provincetown hasn't erased. For one song, "Plastic Soup," she had three audience members come up on stage and hold up signs with the word NO to prompt the audience when we were to shout out that word.

As a performer, Zoë Lewis is the complete package. She is an extremely skilled musician, particularly on the piano, which she plays with a jazzy flair. She vocalizes a trombone convincingly; I have heard her referred to as a "band in a body." Her songs tell stories, and they paint pictures, and they make the audience laugh, and they make them cry. Her stories are poignant (locating an ancient house where her ancestors lived in a forest in France); they are charming and universal (having a crush on her music teacher at age 7); they are extremely funny (being blessed, for a mere $5, with everlasting love by the voodoo-master Prince of Love in New Orleans). Suffice it to say that if you are feeling down, a Zoë Lewis concert is a reliable cure.

Zoë Lewis
Zoë Lewis ... posing for the camera

Zoë Lewis
Zoë Lewis with audience members on "Plastic Soup"

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