Just Friends – Good Companions

by Christine Wiese

In these modern times when most of the world hides behind electronic gadgetry and tweets instead of speaks to one another, it was a pure pleasure to have “Just Friends” come to entertain at the Clausen Center last week. The two good companions did more than put on a show. They took us back to a time when folks gathered around a piano and sang together. A slower time, perhaps, but in this fast paced hurly burly world we live in, that can be a welcome respite.

Jimmy Martin and Dee Noah turned an evening of cabaret classics into a gathering of family and friends. How could you not feel close to people after hearing them talk about peeling potatoes while baby sitting a granddaughter or reminiscing about musical afternoons with Uncle This and Aunt That? The to top it off, you got to belt out “You Are My Sunshine” and “Going To the Chapel”. It’s kind of hard to keep your distance after all that.

The duo not only have a knack for turning audiences into friends,they are grand entertainers. Martin’s keyboard artistry went way beyond impressive. As one attendee said, “I could have listened to his piano all night.” His ragtime medley probably had Scott Joplin jumping and jiving up in heaven and his interpretation of the classical guitar piece, “Malaguena” was heart stopping. It literally brought the crowd to its feet.

Noah brought her talent to the fore with Gershwin’s “Embraceable You”. This song has been around for years and has been sung by the best. She is one of them. “Chicago” showed a whole different side of her. So now we know for sure that there is Shimmy After Sixty”!

When Ken Buell introduced these two, he told the audience that we would all have two new friends at the end of the night. He was right. We had that and more. For a couple of hours we just sat back and enjoyed the heck out of ourselves!