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Henry Wolfe at Amoeba on Sunday April 24th, 2011

With some bouncing upbeat rhythms, nostalgic melodies, and a laid back confidence, the totally unassuming Henry Wolfe played a few songs of his new album ‘Linda Vista’ at Amoeba on Sunday night

His delicate guitar driven melodies, all wrapped by a heart-warming keyboard, was sometimes reminiscent of some vintage Paul Simon (and no, it’s not because I just saw him, but ‘Open the door’ had this ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ keyboard, I swear), or even Paul McCartney, solo McCartney era. Could it be possible? Someone who has absorbed so much and is able to build his own songs with so much ease and harmony?

There was something a bit jazzy, a bit ancient and comfortable about his songs, able to put you right away in a good mood, but also able to bring you more nostalgia and heartbreak you could handle in a few minutes.

Oh and to add to this heroes-nostalgia-phenomenon, he covered Neil Young’s ‘For the Turnstiles’, a song actually featured on his album, and it was time for his band to jam and do some sonic damage. Henry, I have to say, was playing harmonica at the same time than guitar and he just seemed to completely embrace the picture perfect of the ‘traditional’ songwriter.

‘It’s my first show on Easter’, he said, ‘I hope it’s not too sacrilegious!’ Amoeba had organized an ‘egg hunt’, eight eggs, ‘hidden’ in the CDs rows, were containing a coupon for a Henry Wolfe’s present, and thanks to the nice lady employee who put an egg almost right in front of me, I got one of his EP that he signed me so kindly.

‘You can get them after the show’, said Henry ‘I’m sure you can find all kinds of use for them, a glass coaster,… or may be one day they will be item collector!’

Several of the songs he played, like the bouncing ‘Someone else’ or ‘Used to be’ were making these sweet romantic waves, moving so much like a movie soundtrack, I thought I was watching a Paul Thomas Anderson’s film,… it must have been that Jon Brion’s vibe I was getting from them.

Released last March, ‘Linda Vista’, produced by Nico Aglietti and Aaron Older (Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros), is his first full-length record of original material, and Henry will have a Monday night residency at the Bootleg theater in June to celebrate this.

He closed his set with ‘Stop The Train’, a bitter sweet song with a catchy melody and which was also featured on the ‘Julie & Julia’ soundtrack…. The Meryl Streep movie.

Back home I checked his bio, and the first thing I read about him was that he is indeed, Meryl’s son!! If genetics is concerned with talent, it hasn’t failed.

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