Review: A MusiCares Tribute To: Carole King

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A MusiCares Tribute To: Carole King

Shout! Factory
Street: 06.23

Let’s face it: a tribute concert to a legend is only equal to the sum of its various—or in this case, its various artists’—parts, and this is certainly an interesting and eclectic mix, from a range of musical genres coming together to honor the great singer/songwriter.  We know and love King’s rich back-catalogue, and obviously her groundbreaking classic Tapestry album is well-represented, but some of these tributes bloom better than others.  P!nk (“So Far Away”) and Alicia Keys (“Natural Woman”) play it pretty but fairly safe, while Train (“I Feel The Earth Move”) and the seemingly odd quartet of Jason Mraz, Zac Brown, Raining Jane and Sara Bareilles (“Beautiful”) bring more to the table.  Musical bottom-feeder Lady Gaga (“You’ve Got A Friend”) starts a cloying trend of over-praising an embarrassed-looking King, then way overdoes the ass-kissing and the singing, as does (“Love Makes The World”/”Where Is The Love?”), but his stage partner Leah McFall’s talent saves that from disaster.  Of course, having King in   attendance also brings the evening’s best performances: the six where she participates and sings (and plays alongside James Taylor) on her own songs. –Dean O Hillis