Kristen Hertzenberg Carries the Torch (Songs)

Kristen Hertzenberg

Kristen Hertzenberg

One of my fall musical highlights is already here: Las Vegas singer Kristen Hertzenberg and her band return to Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center at 5 and 8 p.m. September 27 to unveil Spellbound, a collection of torch songs ranging from a bluesy take on Patsy Cline standard “Walkin’ After Midnight” to a flamenco-kissed version of Rufus Wainwright’s cellphone-grinding ballad “Vibrate.”

“My last [Cabaret Jazz] show was all about me spreading my wings, showing a different side of the soprano girl from Phantom,” Hertzenberg says via email. “Having done that, I wanted to introduce new material and challenge myself in a new way.”

In Spellbound, Hertzenberg presents a through-line in the music in an effort to make her show feel “like a piece of theater.” It’s not as heavily reliant on her personal stories and experiences.

“The song choices are still very much a reflection of me and what moves me, but this is a story that could be about anyone.”

Spellbound, judging by its set list and marketing, also seems to offer songs of unrequited love—and more sex appeal.

“In this land of scantily clad girls singing and dancing, sex appeal isn’t something I’m shooting for,” Hertzenberg says. “But if there was ever a song about unrequited love, it’s ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me.’ We’re going there. It’ll be torchy.”

Hank III brings the fury

Everything hellbilly rocker Hank III does is a big F-you to the Grand Ole Opry and its hallowed traditions. But the outlaw grandson of Hank Williams has rarely sounded meaner or angrier than he does on last year’s A Fiendish Threat album. It’s a disc full of personal statements (“Different From the Rest”) and psychedelic, Black Sabbath-aping doom-fiddling (“Your Floor”). Which basically means Hank III promises to be a good show that will clear your sinuses. The hootenanny starts at 8 p.m. September 26 at LVCS, and there’s no opening act, so arrive promptly.

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