Live Music and Poetry: Lorraine Feather at Vitello’s.

By Tony Gieske

One of the endlessly fascinating  Lorraine Feather song lyrics that sticks with you, and not in a good way, is “The Girl With the Lazy Eye.”

“While the others are biking or skating
She lies belly-down in the grass.
She talks more to the ants and caterpillars
Than the kids in her homeroom class…”

Feather ripples through this story in three footed iambic lines with an ABCB rhyme scheme. It’s about the morbid poems the little girl writes, the way she walks near the walls, etc., but we are seldom surprised by her narrative’s dimensions. Perhaps its routine prosody kills it, although it scans much like Dorothy Parker’s street level couplet:

“I do love a dry martini, one or two at the most.
Two puts you under the table, three puts you under the host.”

That one’s got a nice punch line. But the destiny of Feather’s pitiful little wren is disappointingly expectable:

“I think you’ll like the world you’ll find
When grammar school is far behind.
You’ll blossom in your destined place….”

The reason the “Lazy Eye” lyric sticks with you is that it was  the exception to the rule in the delicious array of witty writing Feather put forth at Vitello’s on Friday.  The rule was witty, original and delightful, like “Things I Learned in High School,” “Two Desperate Women in Their  Late Thirties,” and “I Forgot to Have Children.”

There was an unconcealed autobiographical thread to the program, too, no doubt having to do with her turning 60, although Feather’s appearance in no way betrayed this event in her life.

Aside from the fact that she had Russell Ferrante at his grand piano on one side of her and Michael Valerio at the other side with his double bass, she behaved as though she were standing in your living room, or maybe her living room, explaining how it gets dark real early in the San Juan Islands where she lives  — with pets but without children.

When Feather sang, it was almost as adroitly managed as the tunes she had written, with their pesky asymmetrical hops, skips and jumps.

She is a unique and welcome treasure in person, even when her voice is slightly clouded by what appeared to be a cold. We are lucky to have her.

Photos by Tony Gieske.  To read and see more of Tony’s essays and photos at his personal web site click HERE.

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