Jomama Jones: Radiate
This R&B concert may be the feel-good show of the year for the downtown crowd.
The show alternates between Jomama performing with the Peaches and a five-piece band and chatting with the audience cabaret style about her life, career, and why she decided to leave the country and raise goats in Sweden. During her time abroad, she realizes she needs to come back and connect with her fellow New Yorkers. As the audience, we know somewhere in the back of our collective head that this is just make believe, but the story and the performance feels very real.
The music, composed by Jones and bandleader Daniel Halvorson, is occasionally reminiscent of Dreamgirls, but it owes more to the great divas of soul than to Broadway. "The Green One" is a rousing anthem of self-actualization that impressively avoids becoming overly sentimental. In the core of the song, Jones sings: "where there is one / there are many / where there are many / there are few / few who choose to see / all that may be / you are one." It's a simple refrain that wraps around itself, capturing the heart of the show along with a certain intangible ambition.
"Show Pony" divides men into three categories: workhorse, racehorse, and show pony. Jones even picks men out of the audience to represent each type and illustrate that you shouldn't "put no show pony / on the workhorse job." It might have come off as crass if the metaphor had been more obvious or delivered with less compassion, but Jones strikes the right balances and scores a big laugh at no one's expense.