The Refugees are a perfect example of a musical ensemble that is greater than the sum of its parts. Not that there's anything wrong with the "parts", namely Wendy Waldman, Cindy Bullens and Deborah Holland, three fine artists whose musical resumes speak for themselves. I seriously doubt, though, that either of them, performing solo, could put on a show that is as funny, as entertaining and even as good musically as their combined effort as the Refugees.
At times, I couldn't tell whether I was attending a comedy show with occasional musical interludes, or the other way around. But either way, it was fun. Their humor appeared to be spontaneous and it generated a lot of laughter in the room. Of the three, Wendy was the most verbose, followed by Cindy and Deborah, in that order. But the singing and playing duties were shared pretty much equally. Here's how they all pitched in:
Wendy: Vocals, acoustic guitar
Cindy: Vocals, mandolin & acoustic guitar
Deborah: Vocals, electric bass & accordion
The strength of the Refugees lies in their songwriting and singing. There wasn't a single bad song in their set. Their voices were superb, both individually and collectively, their harmonies were gorgeous.
The highlights of the show were the beautifully sung "Save The Best For Last" and "Unbound".
|L to R: Deborah, Wendy, Cindy (McCabe's, July 23, 2011)|
|The set list|
|Poster in the window at McCabe's|