Cary Comes Alive! (but not at Budokan)

Live at Headliners Music Hall July 6, 2002 (Billy Hanks)
The Will Cary Big Band

By David Lilly

If spiritual possession is possible, I sense that Jim Croce is hanging around with Will Cary. Like Croce was, Cary is capable of being gentle as a lamb or burning down the house, both of which he and his Big Band did at Headliners last July. Most of the show, which was a CD-release party for his Foundation of Love disc, is preserved on CD and well worth hearing and owning. With a little help from his Big Band, Cary smokes without bringing anything to his lips. He also caresses without physical touch, tips his hat to some influences like Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan by steaming through some crowd-pleasing and sincere covers.

The disc starts with Cary introducing his bandmates, joking with the audience and then lulling said audience through "Foundation of Love," a comforting, gentle breeze of a song. Just when all that accumulated stress has left your being and you might almost be soothed into nodding off, `Honky Tonkin'" takes you rocking down the open road. That pretty well sets the tone for the CD, as Cary and his bandmates spend a good deal of time cradling, rocking and squeezing every drop of sweat they can out of the blues. "Back to You" is one of those overcast numbers that feels so melancholy yet so good you're even glad the sun is gone. With a galloping rhythm section driving it, "How Many Times?" is a rocking blues number that throws more gasoline onto the musical fire that's already burning. On the heels of that comes the flipside of the emotional coin with the quiet and beautiful, "Annie's Melody," Cary's signature song, "Cruisin' in the Park," gets a rollicking workout before the CD closes with blistering covers of Hendrix and Dylan songs.

Will is fortunate to even play a guitar, let alone play like there's no tomorrow. If you were there you saw it first hand. If not, you can still hear it on this CD. You could also catch the man's next gig. Like any artist, Mr. Cary would love to see you there. This CD is available from him at