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4Play: Various Artists, Brian Keane, Various Artists, Simon and Garfunkel

Kristi Kates - September 5th, 2011
Various Artists - America: A Tribute to Heroes - Interscope
Big-scale concerts - especially those with a long list of equally big names - can take up to a year to organize. But when duty calls, musicians and organizers can definitely step up to the plate and deliver, as they did with this heartfelt and surprisingly subdued presentation, which took place on September 21, 2001. Broadcast commercial-free by all four major US TV networks, the event took place on a stage lit by hundreds of candles, and featured moving performances by Neil Young (John Lennon’s “Imagine”), Wyclef Jean (“Redemption Song”), Bruce Springsteen (“My City of Ruins”), and U2’s emotional medley of “Peace on Earth”/”Walk On.”


Brian Keane - New York (Original Soundtrack Recording) - RCA
The striking accompaniment to the PBS documentary of the same name, this album features the skillfully-written NYC-focused compositions of Brian Keane, alongside revamps of some of the best-known classic compositions about the Big Apple. “Dark History Theme” and “Dark History Waltz” both dredge up plenty of emotion about the attacks on NYC both new and historical; “Transformation” musically evokes the City’s growth and changes over time; and “City of Dreams” especially captures the depth of living in the City itself. Classics “Rhapsody in Blue,” “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and “Anything Goes” round out this audio tour of Manhattan and its wealth of stories.

Various Artists - The Concert for New York City - Sony
This two-disc set showcases the best of this concert, which took place at NYC’s own Madison Square Garden on October 20, 2001, and featured highlights such as James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain,” Five for Fighting’s “Superman,” Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind,” and David Bowie covering Simon and Garfunkel’s emotional “America.” Organized by Beatle Paul McCartney (and featuring many of his Brit-rock pals including Rolling Stones Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Who, Bowie, and Elton John), the event focused on honoring the NYFD and NYPD first responders, recovery workers, and those lost in the attacks. A moving and hopeful tribute.

Simon and Garfunkel - Tales from New York: The Very Best Of - Sony/Columbia
Few artists current or classic capture the feelings and moods of New York City better than Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. While this album wasn’t specifically crafted with September 11 in mind (it’s an older release), it’s still a perfect tribute to The City That Never Sleeps, from the subterranean subway and tenement warnings of “The Sound of Silence,” to the seasonal perfection that is “A Hazy Shade of Winter,” and the solitary city dweller of “I Am a Rock.” Even more City-specific are standouts “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy),” “At the Zoo,” “The Only Living Boy in New York,” and of course the duo’s evocative (and oft-covered) “America.”

 
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