Thursday, February 10, 2011

Romance Is In the Air

TOO HUMAN @ The Watertown Library, 2/9/2011
I don’t make it to all their gigs but nevertheless, I am a devoted fan.  Some of my interest in the husband and wife duo called Too Human may be because I know the “back stories” behind many of the songs, so personal and so easy to relate to.   I know this because I was there when my sister Ellen got her first guitar at age 5
that launched her into a nonstop interest in music, leading her to her husband and lifelong musical partner, Roger. Their passion in writing and performing hasn’t waned for a minute since then.  After a career in Los Angeles as staff songwriters for Chapel Music, they returned back East to be closer to family and jumped full swing into producing and performing their own music.
Last night, a few days before Valentine’s Day, the Watertown Library delighted the local community with a live concert by Too Human.  It had been awhile since I’ve heard them and you could do a lot worse than be entertained by this talented couple----both by the warmth, humor and synergy they generate as well as beauty and thoughtfulness of their music.  Their music touches your soul, making you laugh as you listen to the seemingly-authentic banter of the duo, arguing in the middle of “Twisted” or being caught off guard by a lyric that hits close to home--- I’ve shed a tear or two while listening to  their original music, including the very moving ballad “Crater on the Moon.” 
The subdued concert setting of the library is a little different for me this night, as I am more used to the loud and distracting environment of clubs, bars, and dance halls.  But I can see why these two accomplished songwriter/musicians prefer this type of venue. The people that attend their concerts are here because they WANT to listen to lyrics, to the music and to the heart of this creative duo whose playing is rounded out by the stellar sounds of Bryan Rizzuto on his upright bass.   Ellen plays guitar and Roger fills it out with a range of percussion instruments as well as his mouth as trombone—You’ve got to hear it to believe it!  And they both do vocals.  Ellen’s soulful, even and sometimes gritty sound is a perfect balance to Roger’s smooth crooning vocals. Together, they provide gorgeous harmonies. 
Guaranteed.  If you were with your honey last night, you would have reached for his/her hand, leaned back in your chair and closed your eyes as you listened to the band’s wonderfully romantic arrangement of “It Had to Be You” or “I’ve Got a Crush on You.”
Too Human has a particular talent of customizing their playlist to the audience and since there were some children present, another original, “Swimmies” was a fun way to involve the kids and get us all to visualize a much-needed break from snow, anticipating warmer summer days ahead.
A signature part of the Too Human act is a sing-along at the end that never fails to engage the audience—“Pennies From Heaven.” By the last chorus, this reserved audience was transformed into an animated chorus, happily waiting for their cue. 
After an enthusiastic applause, the crowd reluctantly filtered out of the room, uplifted, many of them stopping to chat with the musicians.  Thank you, friends of the Watertown Library, for sponsoring a delightful night and wonderful prequel to Valentine’s Day. 

To find out more about Too Human, go to

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