From left: William Fitzsimmons, Joshua Radin, Ben Kweller (photo: Cindy Huang)
Acoustic shows at the Great American Music Hall always guarantee an intimate experience with the artist. Singer-songwriter Joshua Radin certainly delivered on this promise as he took us on a soulful journey through the inner workings of his songwriting that tugs at your heartstrings.
He was joined onstage for the duration of the show by longtime friend William Fitzsimmons and Ben Kweller whom he recently befriended four days prior to the show. Radin later revealed that he came to know Kweller’s work by way of a hand-me-down Jeep, which contained only 1 CD: Kweller’s 2002 album Sha Sha.
The camaraderie amongst the trio was apparent as they bounced between poignant verses and playful banter. Each took turns connecting with the audience on songs about lost love, divorce, adoption, and other painful tribulations. Stripped-down versions of familiar song lyrics ached with a tenderness that could be felt humming through the crowd. The depth of emotion and vulnerability each singer-songwriter revealed was often countered with humor and light-hearted quips from Fitzsimmons. Sobering moments were rebounded with a promise of uplifting content later on in the show. The audience got a chance to hear an unreleased track from Kweller, who, in turn, peer-pressured Radin to perform one of his own. Radin took requests from the crowd and played fan favorite “Winter.”
After a slew of what Radin dubbed “adult lullabies,” the show took an upbeat turn when Radin instructed the audience to participate in an interactive stomp and clap along to the chorus of “Belong.” The crowd was on its feet for the remainder of the show, with Kweller buzzing along on the harmonica.
On a mellow Monday evening, Radin reminded us that at 45 years old, he’s not rocking it — he’s folking it.