Best Cabaret Act for People Who Don't Like Cabaret New York 2000 - Howard Fishman
Sophistication is usually defined as the absence of country: urbane and urban, same-same. And what's more citified than cabaret? Clever, meticulously crafted songs interpreted with delicacy and tact. Of course, where the rubber meets the road, that translates as often as not into tired old warhorses put across with an enervated, aren't-we-all-too-fabulous archness. Feh. In fact, cabaret could probably use a pint or two of square-jawed hillbilly orneriness. That's what Howard Fishman thinks, anyway, and he's been proving it at, ah, "intimate venues" all over town for the last couple of years. Backed by a hard-swinging trio of fiddleall right, violintrumpet, and string bass (the players are always changing, but the instruments stay the same), he sics his guitar and man-in-black deadpan voice on a well-chosen mix of songwriter standards and mountain blues. He can make a dark hollow out of the Oak Room.