By David Walters
You can leave the Bronx, but the Bronx can never leave you.
Having spent decades living in Europe, Tom McGuire is back stateside with a dinner show highlighting songs from what’s often referred to as the bible-thick Frank Sinatra Songbook. Tom has put together a lovely evening reminiscing the sounds and stylings of the Hoboken Heartthrob.
Frank would be 107 now if he were still alive. Over a 60-year career in entertainment, he recorded over 1200 songs. That’s a large songbook to pick from when you only have time for a dozen or so to sing. Tom and his Grammy-winning musical director, Baden Goyo, have chosen some of the great ones, Under My Skin, Fly Away, That’s Life, My Way (he also tosses in the haunting Brazilian song Rendezvous that he sings in Italian). If you’re a fan of Frank, Tom will have you floating on comfortable clouds of familiarity.
Tom peppers his stylings with some ‘Ol Blue Eyes personal history and the history of where the songs came from. He shares a personal note about how Frank was discovered as a singing waiter at the Rustic Cabin in New Jersey. The Rustic Cabin is now an Exxon station and Tom shares a funny encounter that he had there while getting gas.
Tom is not so much a mimic of Frank’s voice and his style, as he takes the musicality and plays with it in his own unique Bronx way. If you close your eyes and just listen while Tom is singing, you can hear Frank, funneled through the New York subways northern terminations. It’s comfortably familiar and unique all at the same time.
Tom grew up in the Bronx in the 50s and 60s, went to Fordham Prep, but ended up spending 45 years living in five different countries in Europe. What he did not lose in his life journey was his roots. They are there in his bearing, in his voice, and in his showmanship. What comes across is someone loving what they’re doing and loving being able to share it with his audience.
His four-piece international jazz band backing him up was phenomenal, not only in their accompaniment but in their solo pieces as well. Daniel Prim on drums (Venezuela), Hamish Smith on double-bass (New Zealand), Alejandro Berti playing some mean horns (Venezuela), and his music director and piano partner, Boden Goyle (Venezuela).
A Bronx Accent from Brussels, for two shows only at the Laurie Beechman Theatre on Friday, January 20, and Saturday, January 21, 2023, both at 7:00 PM. On May 10, 2023, Tom will be performing at 54 Below.
As always, this is just one person’s opinion in a world filled with them.