Oct. 2: Due to the federal government shutdown, this concert has been canceled. The Library of Congress may reschedule, but has not yet announced a new date.
Let the Randy Newman revival begin. Prior to his becoming synonymous with saccharine ballads for children, Newman penned some of the canniest pop of the 1970s. While he was never as popular as contemporaries like Paul Simon and Van Morrison—and he doesn’t currently enjoy the hip cachet of Harry Nilsson—most of the country is reminded of Newman’s bespectacled, froggy-voiced existence when he’s given his yearly Oscar nod for Best Original Song. Sure, Newman can effectively mine tender emotions from aging action figures, but he’s similarly adept at stirring sentimentality (“Louisiana 1927”), caustic political commentary (“Political Science”), and shooting fish in a barrel (“Short People,” “Rednecks”). He is a renaissance man who writes songs about monsters, both real and imaginary.