“This fan has witnessed Shapiro’s well-crafted music with the artist’s intricate live guitar handiwork at Roggie’s in Brighton. The songs have lyrics interesting to absorb. Also, one does not need to strain to hear the well-chosen words, at times unexpected, due to Shapiro’s smooth delivery and understated, yet effective diction.”
“Chiemi’s Corner” Somerville News
"A superlative and classy effort."
-George Maida, The Electric Croude, WCVE-FM
P.J. Shapiro performs at Avenue C's
By Joe Viglione/ Correspondent, The Medford Transcript
Songwriter P.J. Shapiro, who moved to Medford from Newton in the year 2000, was the featured performer at Avenue C's Thursday night open mic on Feb. 10. Of course a mini snowstorm hit a few hours before and during show time, but that added to the ambiance of the gig at the elegant new Malden nightclub located at 166 Eastern Ave., between Ferry Street and Eastern Avenue, at the Route 60 split.
Shapiro has an appealing voice and interesting lyrics - "Who knows which way the magma flow," he sings in "Continental Drift." When music fans hear the letters "P.J." they may first think of female singer P.J. Harvey or the band 40 Ft. Ringo's P.J. Farley, but Shapiro has something different to offer - a series of dark rolling essays accompannied by a folk guitar, which he manipulates in creative ways.
Live at the Avenue C showcase he set the mood by applying those subtle dynamics, kind of like a progressive rock band without the bombast. It's an interesting concept that demands attentiveness and was embraced by the ever growing crowd at organizer Jeff Munro's Thursday evening get-togethers.
The event itself was impressive, a guitarist named Randy coming all the way from the South Shore, other participants sometimes showing up from New Hampshire or other parts unknown to the local Medford/ Malden/ Arlington region.
After author Rushworth M. Kidder (from Maine) was interviewed for a cable show at around 8:45 p.m., singer Donny Schultz began the open mic - Schultz requesting to open for P.J. Shapiro, which shows the respect fellow musicians have for the performer.
The featured artist then took the staging area in front of a fireplace and black drape backdrop and began his set. The only "cover" song performed by Shapiro was Joss Whedon's theme song to the sci-fi TV show "Firefly." It's available only in secret places on the Web, one of those little treats performers put out for the world to hunt down and cherish.
Another song, "Justice," doesn't appear on the singer's 12 track "I Know What You're Made Of" CD from 2001, but it has the same style and flavor as the excellent material on that disc. More information about the CD can be found on http://www.pjshapiro.com/
The singer was thankful that the crowd would "brave the elements; hope it's been rewarding" he said. The applause in response was sincere - the other musicians in attendance seem to have a camaraderie which spills over to the non-participants, those just walking in for a beer or some of the excellent food served at the club.
Promoter Jeff Munro is also the station manager at Arlington's Comcast Cable station. He's been putting open mics together for at least six years and has a handle on bringing like talents together for what was one of the more fun nights this jaded writer has experienced in quite some time.
Kevin McQuilken appeared after Shapiro to play instrumental versions of songs ranging from The Police to the 60s hit "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" as well as the 1970s gem "Loving You" by Minnie Ripperton.
The level of musicianship was surprisingly very high for a suburban showcase, higher than many similar events found in Cambridge and Boston.
A pretty gal named Marissa showed up with her friends to join the event in a jam after songwriter David Munro played an excellent albeit brief collection of his tunes.
This club is something special - opening Labor Day weekend 2004 it has a New York-style decor that adds to the legitimacy of the artist mix. In other words - it's a classy place!
"With acoustic guitar firmly in hand,
singer-songwriter P.J. Shapiro unveils 12 percussive originals filled with
depth and emotion. Shapiro's melancholy voice delivers well written
prose while his strum-heavy guitar work creates not only a melody but the songs
tempo as well. He also manages to maintain an upbeat image that keeps
these songs vibrant.
"A man and his guitar. That's what this CD is all about. Folk-inspired modern singer songwriter pop. If you took some spices from Kevin Gilbert and added some Jars Of Clay vibes and stripped it down to just a production with a guitar and vocals we're quite right in the music direction of Shapiro. I would have preferred a little more produced album with some other instruments on here, cause the song material is strong and so is his voice. But 12 songs with just an acoustic guitar are brave and it's a bit too much, even if the songs are good. Get my point? Anyway - as I said P.J have a great voice, and there are some damn fine tunes on here. But next time I want to hear this guy in a full- scaled production. These songs would have been great if for example Adrian Belew have produced them in a Jars Of Clay kind of production."
-Pär Winberg www.melodic.net
and now a shameless commercial reminder of where you can get a copy of I Know What You're Made Of for your very own:
Where to buy a copy:
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