Address: 237 W. 42nd St. (7-8 Aves.) - 212-997-4144
Description: Vonda Shepard's career has ranged in scope from early hits in the late '80s with "Don't Cry Ilene" (Reprise Records) and "Can't We Try" (with Dan Hill) to her work as an independent artist, and then as the voice of Ally McBeal, selling more than 12 million records worldwide throughout the span of the hit TV show.
Her most recent CD From the Sun (as well as its live counterpart, From the Sun Tour: Live in San Javier) finds her indie roots firmly planted. Infusing her deep and melodic songwriting style with splashes of powerful vocals, From the Sun is her fourth collaboration with legendary producer Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Elvis Costello, Randy Newman). Froom describes the album as "modern-day soul" with Vonda's solid piano playing and soulful, blues-inspired voice driving the tracks.
From the Sun also features guitarist James Ralston (Tina Turner), bassist Jim Hanson (Johnny Cash, Bruce Springsteen), and drummer Matt Chamberlain (David Bowie, Tori Amos, John Mayer), as well as mixer/engineer David Boucher (Daniel Powter, Indigo Girls, Andrew Bird).
"I love performing live so much - I wanted to write songs that I could really wail on. I love the idea of making and releasing my own records exactly the way I envision them, then going on the road, getting the music out there and having a blast doing it all. I have tons of energy for music and life."
From the Sun highlights the work of an artist who began performing original material at small L.A. clubs at age 14. Having released five studio albums of original material, a live retrospective and DVD, and four soundtracks for the series Ally McBeal since, Vonda is a remarkable talent with boundless energy and inspiration.
Born in New York City, Vonda moved to California with her family as a child and began piano lessons at age six. By 21, she was working with Rickie Lee Jones, then Al Jarreau, and eventually Jackson Browne. In 1987, Vonda secured her first solo deal with Reprise Records and two years later an eponymous album was released. The Top 10 AC and VH1 single "Don't Cry Ilene" brought her outstanding and unmistakably bluesy voice to a wide audience and caught the attention of the critics. In 1992, the follow-up, The Radical Light was released.
In 1995, no longer with Reprise, Vonda borrowed money (and Jackson Browne's studio) to make her third recording, It's Good, Eve, and released it independently. Without that generosity, It's Good, Eve would not have been made. It was this album that caught David E. Kelley's ear right at the moment he was searching for a voice for his new show Ally McBeal.
Vonda's five-year stint with the show not only included performing on each episode, but it also entailed being the musical producer. Ninety percent of Vonda's work was done behind the scenes, producing many of the guest artists who appeared on the show which meant recording almost 500 songs featuring artists including Gladys Knight, Sting, Barry Manilow, Al Green, Chubby Checker, Jon Bon Jovi, and many more. For their efforts, Vonda and the cast won a Golden Globe, two Emmy Awards, a Screen Actors' Guild award, and a Billboard award for selling the most TV soundtrack records in history.
Some of Vonda's richest material can be found on her 1999 album, By 7:30, which was also produced by Froom. The two went on to make 2002?s Chinatown. Vonda's tenth outing, Vonda Shepard Live: A Retrospective, celebrates her accomplishments as a great live performer. It includes a companion DVD that features performances, humorous moments, behind the scenes, and cameos from Shepard's friends, including David E. Kelley, Emily Saliers (Indigo Girls), Julia Fordham, Al Jarreau, Greg Germann, and Jackson Browne.
In the words of Chris Willman from Entertainment Weekly, "The singer/songwriter genre doesn't get any better than this."
Venue Description: A throwback to the fabled days of New York nightclubs, B.B. King Blues Club & Grill features top-caliber music stars and an American Continental menu with a Southern flair. The Showcase Room has video screens and state-of-the-art sound, table seating, a bar where you can snack and listen, and a dance floor. The Beatles Brunch is offered every Saturday at noon (doors at 11am), and doors open for the Gospel Brunch every Sunday at 12:30pm with music at 1:30pm.