Tom Waits: I Can’t Wait to Get Off Work

Written by Michael Barrett

Associate Artistic Director, NYFOS

In category: Song of the Day

Published April 12, 2018

On April 24 we are celebrating the NYFOS 30th Anniversary with a concert at Merkin Hall at 8:00. Tenor Paul Appleby, a NYFOS regular over the past decade will be with us singing Schubert, Lennon and McCartney, and several other things. Paul has an enviable international career by now, and we don’t get to see him very often, so this this will be a treat for Steve Blier and myself.  I remember being backstage before a concert with Paul in Washington D.C. about 7 years ago. Our next concert would be based on the hours of the work day. It was coming up right away, and we were just a song or two short. Paul pulled out his phone, tapped in a line, and held his phone out to us. “Do you guys know Tom Waits”? He inquired. Uhhh, not really, we kind of know the name was our lame reply. There appeared on the phone a bedraggled, smoking, drinking, piano playing, singing (well, I’ll let you be the judge) Tom Waits in “I Cant Wait To Get Off Work”. It was mesmerizing, and the song did make it on to our program, with James Martin portraying a stylish janitor, waiting to just get home and see his baby. Paul Appleby’s artistry has been a given since his Juilliard days. He had that special thing that doesn’t appear in young talent but once every many years. And his deep ideas about music and singing are always provoking, and fascinating to argue, and eventually agree with. And he does indeed have some good ideas. Here is Tom Waits in that recording Paul showed us. Do yourself a favor and come hear Paul on April 24.

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Michael Barrett is the co-founder and associate artistic director of New York Festival of Song, as well as the co-founder and music director of the Moab Music Festival in Utah. A conductor and a pianist, Michael was a protégé of Leonard Bernstein and serves as music advisor to the Leonard Bernstein Estate.


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