Micah Sheveloff latest offering Live And On Fire From Firehouse 12 features nine of his most tender, sensitive singer-songwriter pieces. Aside from his handsome vocal and emotive piano playing, Sheveloff is brilliant at setting moods and conjuring emotions. He goes over well with his audience at Firehouse 12 in New Haven, Connecticut and audience attentiveness lets Sheveloff and his backing band of two set a perfect mood for each of these original tunes.
Opening track “The Simplest Things” finds Sheveloff singing in a dark, haunted tone, his voice creating a forlorn feeling, as if something has already been lost and he’s in mourning. One can feel what he must have been feeling when he wrote this. His smooth, steady vocal carries a lot of emotional weight in each verse, and it’s an added treat for the ears when his backing vocalist Beth Patella chimes in with her lovely coos and lyrical support. It’s uncanny how this song feels heavy and dark while also offering hope with its outpouring of feelings.
Second track “Every Time She Falls” burns with an incendiary guitar phase from accompanist Marc Shulman. The song is also marked by tender piano tinkling, notes that ring out with sincerity. Sheveloff carries the listener through a tuft of reflection and sorrow, his vocals delivering his words with a haunted, understated aplomb.
“Late Train Home” is a dark, down tempo dreamscape. This moody piece wins one over with its large sense of purpose as well as the light touches from the musicians. Sheveloff’s piano notes here sound very considerate, offering a string of notes that connote what the song is about while Patella brings in another dimension with her harmonies and coos. Light touches on the electric guitar bring out even more of the song’s feeling of loss, something that was once there but cannot be recaptured.
Patella utilizes her crystal singing bowl to create an energetic vibe for “Favorite Son.” The drone she creates works well to augment moody piano notes and Sheveloff’s plaintive, mournful vocal line. Shulman comes in with a slow burn guitar phrase, one that makes the listener feel the snap when his fingers and pick hit the strings.
“Running Sideways” is a thoughtful ballad that gains steam from the way Sheveloff suddenly sings in a slightly more assertive manner. He also occasionally hits his piano notes with a hefty tinkle. Match those piano notes with flinty guitar notes and Patella’s shimmering backdrop coos and the listener has another pleasant excursion into this singer-songwriter’s colorful musical landscape.
“She paints My Way Home” finds Sheveloff paying out another of his effective, moody piano lines. His notes hit like raindrops on a pavement, making a flinty impression even in their quietness and seriousness. His vocal emotes without trying to, as he only needs an earnest crooning of his words to paint a picture. Patella’s background coos expand the soundscape, giving the tune more depth of emotion before she chimes in on the chorus to help Sheveloff make a thicker, sweeter vocal line. Shulman’s subtle guitar phrase rings out in the backdrop and the whole combines these individual elements into something fine.
“Love And Piece” is another of Sheveloff’s lyrically sensitive, tenderly delivered piano ballads. His mellow, easeful pace, again, allows him to inject a lot of feeling into his number. A shift between a light chord and a heavier chord add an undeniable intensity inside the gentle shell of this song. Amazing.
“Things I Know” has a snappier feel, like something Sheveloff might have written to accompany a stage show. Witty references to education and knowledge become clever metaphors for the important lessons in life, things learned only from living. A real charmer as he croons over his mildly jaunty rhythm, Sheveloff will have even his most serious listeners tapping their toes and singing along.
Sheveloff closes out this live disc with “Tumble,” a song delivered with subtle vocals and sensitive musicianship. When the three all come in at once, they deliver a stronger spark of emotional and musical force.
Sheveloff manages on this CD to display his fine delivery as well as his perfectly constructed ballads. He and his support musicians play with a never ending grace and power. His Firehouse 12 audience found him in good form and their fascination with his work clearly drove him and his two band mates to the finer heights of live performance.