The Elks Theatre rocked Saturday night with a tribute to Carole King, easily the most influential female songwriter of our time. Khris Dodge’s production of The Tapestry Album Live in Concert: The Music of Carole King, featured 26 of her greatest hits. Singer Katherine Byrnes belted out hit after hit with a big voice that was rich and strong and uncannily evocative of King herself.
The show was designed to showcase the two distinct phases of Carole King’s career. She first worked as a songwriter with her husband, Gary Giffon, who she married when she was 17. As a team they wrote numerous pop hits that became standards for other performers. When they separated in the late 1960’s, she continued to write on her own and began performing her own material. These later compositions were more musically complex and began to reflect her unique gift for lyric and storytelling.
The first act was dedicated to a performance of all 12 songs of the Tapestry album in their actual sequence on the album. Byrnes explained that she chose this format to illustrate that it is not just the individual hits that made the album memorable, but the careful sequencing of the songs that work together to create a unified work of art and illustrate the enormous depth and range of Carole King’s talent. Ms. Byrnes was backed up by a top notch band including music director Khris Dodge on keyboards, Gus Woodrow on drums, with Kai Felix and Ryan Alfred on guitars.
The album, Tapestry, released in 1971, became a legend in the industry as the number one best-selling album for 15 weeks and remained on the Billboard chart for a record-setting six years. The album garnered four Grammy Awards with the hit singles “I Feel the Earth Move”, “It’s Too Late”, “You’ve Got a Friend”, and “A Natural Women”. Worldwide sales topped $25 million.
The second half of the show featured selections from King’s huge catalogue of popular hits written early in her career for other performers such as “Take Good Care of My Baby” a 1961 hit for Bobby Vee, “Up on the Roof” for the Drifters (1962), “One Fine Day” for the Chiffons (1963), and “I’m Into Something Good” for Herman’s Hermits (1964). She co-wrote her first hit single at the age of 17 with husband Gary Giffon, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” a breakthrough chart topper for both King and the Shirelles in 1959. In a career that has spanned five decades, Carole King has written or co-written over 400 songs, 118 of which became Billboard charted pop hits. At the age of 77, she continues to compose and perform.
To close out a memorable night of hot tunes and nostalgia, Ms. Byrnes treated the enthusiastic crowd to a rousing rendition of “Locomotion”, a 1962 “one off” for Little Eva that has stayed a pop favorite for half a century. And the perennial soft rock favorite, “You’ve Got a Friend”which was a hit for both King and James Taylor in 1971.
Khris Dodge Productions along with headliner Katherine Byrnes will return to the Elks Theatre September 21st with a tribute to Janis Joplin, “A Piece of My Heart”. Tickets can be purchased by calling 928.777.1370 or by going to Prescott Elks Theatre.
Khris Dodge, fan David Stringer, and Katherine Byrnes