By Mike McKenney, Rock At Night New England
Live Review: Sophie B. Hawkins at the Greenwich Odeum, East Greenwich, Rhode Island–May 21, 2021
The Greenwich Odeum is a beautiful boutique venue located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. Grammy nominated, singer songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, Sophie B. Hawkins performed a full solo set to an intimate crowd Friday night at the Greenwich Odeum. Sharing many of her older songs, spanning the last thirty years, to a four song subset of as of yet unreleased work that prove Hawkins is still as relevant today as she ever was.
Opening with “Right Beside You” Hawkins displayed her quirky bohemian, almost rapping style. Continuing on acoustic guitar for “California Here I Come”. Sophie then switched over to keyboards for “Before I Walk On Fire”. The longest-running single in Billboard Adult Contemporary chart history and number one hit, “As I Lay Me Down” is well known to fans of TV series Dawson’s Creek, and Party Of Five as well as the 1995 film Now and Then. Written in memory of her Father, “As I Lay Me Down” was a clear fan favorite, with the entire house singing along.
Hawkins is a prolific story teller. Throughout the night she chatted with the crowd, offering insights on her life and her music. Before performing “Lose Your Way” she told the story of how her choice of using a banjo on that song, “killed” her career. Seems Sony Records loved the song but not the banjo.
After much haggling, Sophie ended up suing Sony for the rights to the masters for the album “Timbre”. Eventually an arrangement was made and “Lose Your Way”, with the banjo, was a hit on Dawson’s Creek and pop radio.
Hawkins went on to perform four new unreleased songs that really demonstrate her unique song writing ability and will be a great foundation for a new future album. Constantly experimenting and fearless on stage, Hawkins talent and musicianship were evident as she seamlessly moved from guitar, to keyboards, to an African drum, but it’s her distinctive vocals that compel the audience. At times her voice is smooth and soft and at other times so rough and raspy she seemingly is on the edge of falling apart but never does.
“Damn, I Wish I Were Your Lover”, her mega hit from 1992, is a perfect example of her matured musicality. Hawkins uses her voice and haunting keyboards to present a fresh experience of a song that we have all heard a million times. Brilliant in her execution, “Damn, I Wish I Were Your Lover, was well worth waiting for.
Partial Set List:
Right Beside You
California Here I Come
Before I Walk On Fire
As I Lay Me Down
Did We Not Choose Each Other
I Walk Alone
Lose Your Way
Damn, I Wish I Were Your Lover