HUB REVIEW: Evan Tyrone Martin Channeled Nat “King” Cole During Last Night’s Christmas Show in Folsom

HUB REVIEW: Evan Tyrone Martin Channeled Nat “King” Cole During Last Night’s Christmas Show in Folsom

By Michael P Coleman

I’m not prone to hyperbole, so listen to me when I say this:  no one alive sings Nat “King” Cole’s “Nature Boy” as well as Chicago’s Evan Tyrone Martin. 

I know “Nature Boy” isn’t a Christmas tune, but after a couple of songs, no one at the Harris Center in Folsom last night cared what Martin sang.  His show, An Unforgettable Nat “King” Cole Christmas, featured holiday and romantic standards made famous by the legendary performer. 

Martin himself joked that we’d all come to hear “The Christmas Song,” and he delivered that gift just before the two-hour show’s intermission.  His musical theatre background served him well on that and other time-worn Christmas favorites.  I could almost see every mother’s child looking for soaring reindeer.

Martin sang one of the most beautiful, reverent versions of “Silent Night” I’ve ever heard.  He performed a medley of Christmas tree-themed songs, beginning with Cole’s “Oh Tannenbaum,” and charmingly led the audience in a three-song carol-sing.

Martin also displayed a mastery for Cole’s more up-tempo catalog, swinging with classics like “L-O-V-E” and “Straighten Up And Fly Right” with a contagious verve.

But the night’s real surprises were in Martin’s delivery of some of the romantic ballads that were Cole’s calling card.  He delivered a truly stunning version of “Mona Lisa,” and prompted tears during “Unforgettable” and “When I Fall In Love,” which he dedicated to his late father and Cole’s wife, Maria, respectively. 

As much as I love Christmas music, those and other romantic songs in Martin’s show made me wish he’d have performed a little while longer last night.   Or at the very least, they made me want to see his other Cole tribute show, Unforgettable: Falling In Love With Nat “King” Cole

Are you listening, Harris Center?  Make it happen in 2019! 

Connect with Evan Tyrone Martin at evantyronemartin.com

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 Connect with freelance writer Michael P Coleman at michaelpcoleman.com, of follow him on Twitter:  @ColemanMichaelP