There’s a soft, light vocal quality that is almost child-like when listening to the sounds of Tanya Holt. And then you look at this woman, now on the other side of the spotlights, and realize she is anything but child-like.
Ms. Holt is the booking manager at the newly refurbished, snazzy looking Metropolitan Room. In a clingy turquoise satin short dress (looking spectacularly trim), she quietly opened with a swinging “Make Me A Present of You” (Joe Greene) and did. She has a sometimes shy, but warm and focused way of relating to each and every audience member so that you feel her passion because it’s all genuine; that little raspy finite vocal quality easy on the ears.
For those privy to her personal story, she unashamedly laid it out musically in her choice of material in this one hour show. A slow, soulful “The Very Thought of You” (Ray Noble) spoke volumes, but “Daddy O” (Gene DePaul & Don Raye – - life goes on! In a sad rendition of “Mr. Bojangles” (Jerry Jeff Walker) Holt just simply tells the story.
Other highlights of her set included the Bernstein/Comden/Green “I Can Cook Too” – you sure can and stir it up hot and spicy; and a very difficult “I Have Nothing” (Linda Thompson/David Foster) concluding with a restrained passionate “Gotta Move” (Peter Matz). Some scatting lightened up the Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields’ ”Pick Yourself Up” mustering a bucket of strength and power.
I must say only one corrective bit of advice – - make sure to include an entire room rather than choose one person as a focus on one side to sing an entire song (as in Daddy O). We want to see you and be part of the experience.
Holt has an effortless way of presenting that immediately engages, has good phrasing and the ability to keep her sense of humor. Brava Tanya, for finding the songs that make your heart sing and using the healing power of music to share your story.
The show was masterfully musically directed by Tracy Stark with Matt Wigton on bass, with direction of Lennie Watts.
Looking forward to hearing more from Tanya Holt!