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All about the music

Alice Smith performs at the rise music series

Colette Greenstein | 10/18/2017, 12:03 p.m.
Filling Calderwood Hall from the floor to the rafters with her singular and powerful voice, Alice Smith made it clear ...
Singer and songwriter Alice Smith Alex Elena photography

Filling Calderwood Hall from the floor to the rafters with her singular and powerful voice, Alice Smith made it clear that she came to perform last Thursday night at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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For more information about the RISE Music Series, visit: www.gardnermuseum.org.

Smith’s Oct. 12 show, part of the museum’s RISE music series, was all about the music for the Grammy-nominated singer. Backed by a three-member band and a sparse set, she lit up the evening with the songs “Dream” and “Love Endeavor” from her 2006 debut album, “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me.” Smith also captivated the audience with “The One” and her cover of “Fool For You” from her 2013 album, “She.”

Although “Fool For You” was originally sung by Cee Lo Green, Smith has made the song her own. “I just like covers,” the singer said in a phone interview before her Boston show. “Covers are cool because they already have their own life. You can do what you want. It’s not the same as somebody saying, ‘Oh, I wrote this song and I want you to sing it, to be the first to sing it.’” She added, “I like covers, and I pick what I like. I heard it on the radio and I was like, ‘That’s kind of cool.’ I do that all the time. If I like them, I try them out.”

Three songs into her RISE performance, Smith introduced herself to the audience with a simple “Hi, I’m Alice Smith. How’re you doing?” before moving onto her next song — further reinforcing that the focus of the evening was the music.

Known for her four-octave vocal range, Smith’s voice is raw and full of power and emotion, yet also soothing, soulful and playful, often leaving one wondering what the chameleon-like singer will do with it next. With a voice that pierced through the sonic cube known as the Calderwood Pavilion, Smith said, “It’s probably the best place I’ve played in Boston.”

Moving right into her next number, she teased the audience with a song from her upcoming album, which she called “Mystery.” Those who attended the RISE Music Series that night were fortunate to have experienced her live. Smith didn’t tour much last year, and in the interview with the Banner, she commented that she’s been “working on music mainly, and just getting back into moving around more.”

Ending the hour-long concert with a haunting performance of the Nina Simone classic “I Put A Spell On You,” Smith left the Pavilion to a standing ovation with the audience chanting her name and wanting her back.