By: Nicole Itkin
“I Will Probably Cry,” is Gracie’s debut show. The songs tell a story, her story. The evening is a love trek, from despair to resoluteness.
Is the story we’re listening to the most original? Not exactly. Does it skim the surface a bit? Sure. But the songs are all important to her, and well-suited for her voice. Though– and I admit this might be slightly hyperbolic– it’s hard to think of songs that wouldn’t be well-suited for her incredible range.
Gracie’s voice is powerful and emotional. As she sings, there are times when I have to close my eyes, have to really listen.
Her duet of Pink’s “Just Give me a Reason” with Broadway singer Justin Sargent, is possibly the best version of the song I’ve heard.
Her take on “Chiquitita” by Bjorn Ulvaeus, which she prefaces by saying that she has a tattoo of the song’s title, is really special. She just seems to cradle every word!
My favorite of the night though has to be: “Will There Be a Time?” from Mozart, Her Story. (Mozart, Her Story is a musical about Mozart’s sister, a talented composer in her own right who was forced into marriage to the detriment and eventual end of her own ability to compose. The show has premiered at Carnegie Hall, but has yet to become a full-fledged production. Let me just say: from this song, it promises to be special). The song is emotional and pleading; it asks the question over and over and over: “When? When will it be time?” For talent to be pushed up instead of destroyed. For talent to be taken seriously instead of dismissed. For talent to be regarded the same way across the genders. In some ways, it’s a completely different take on love than the songs Gracie had sung previously in the night; in other ways, I think it’s a culmination. Here’s the question I think it really asks: When will love be taken seriously?
Gracie gives us emotion in spades. Though she handles every song beautifully, Gracie absolutely soars when she’s singing a ballad. Her range is wide, her voice and tone powerful. You can tell she’s feeling the song, and she’s letting us feel it too.
Gracie tells us that she’ll probably cry. She doesn’t– but her mom sure does. Much of her family came to show their support. Over the course of the evening, there are a few (adorable and hilarious) back and forths between her and her mom (famed country singer Faith Hill).
At one point, her mom whisper-yells at Gracie to stand up. Faith cuts herself off before finishing the sentence when she realizes that Gracie had chosen to sit for the song. Hanging her head, she looks at the color of the tablecloth with interest she hadn’t previously shown. The conversations between the two were never a distraction; they just made the evening more personal, even intimate.
Twice in the evening, Gracie looks at us and raises her martini in the air, inviting the audience to do the same. “Cheers!” She calls. Then, she gasps excitedly: “Ooh! I have a story!” She proceeds to tell us a story about a time she was in church when she was a kid. Someone handed her a cup of grape juice for Communion, and, unprompted, she lifted a cup to her friend’s with a quiet little “Cheers!”
Gracie McGraw in “I Will Probably Cry” was nervous, chatty, and completely won me over. My god. Her voice!
Gracie McGraw is the daughter of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, both of country fame. Her vocal prowess is certainly equivalent to the two, but she seems eager to take a different path, to go the Broadway route. I absolutely expect to see her on a Broadway stage soon.
It was a fantastic evening, one I hope to repeat. I’ll be buying tickets for Gracie’s next show, and I would absolutely recommend you do the same.
Gracie McGraw- Vocal
Jacob Yates– Music Director and Piano
Joshua Roberts– Drums
Michelle Osbourne– Bass
Sasha Ono– Cello
David Kawamura– guitar