The Weekend Australian
Celebration of a rich and timeless Tapestry
After performing to half-a-million people across more than 300 shows in the lead role of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, awardwinning singer and actor Esther Hannaford will soon slip into King’s proverbial shoes once again for a national tour celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tapestry, the US singer-songwriter’s acclaimed second album.
Unlike the shows in 2017 and 2018, however, Hannaford won’t be occupied with stage directions, costume changes and dialogue.
Instead, backed by a powerhouse band led by musical director and Jet bassist Mark Wilson, she’ll stand and deliver the album in full, followed by a selection of King’s works written for other artists.
As to why King’s classic collection of songs – including unforgettable hits such as I Feel the Earth Move, You’ve Got A Friend and (You Make Me Feel
Like) A Natural Woman – still resonates five decades after its release, Hannaford has a couple of ideas.
“They’re timeless as far as their storytelling goes,” she said. “They get to the point of what they’re about: they’re human interactions, very simply. It’s almost like no-one else can write it better, because it’s been done in such a simple way.”
Recorded in January 1971 and released the following month, Tapestry spent 15 consecutive weeks at No.1 on the US Billboard album chart and is estimated to have sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.
It was only in July 2016, though, that King performed the album live in its entirety for the first time at a festival in London.
The 20-date Tapestry tour begins on Thursday in Newcastle and ends on May 15 in Melbourne.
Hannaford, who is based in inner-city Melbourne, has required a change of scenery for her vocal rehearsals .
“I’ve been doing it at my dad’s house, because I live in an apartment and I don’t want to upset my neighbours,” she said with a laugh.
Owing to the theatre closures stemming from the pandemic, Hannaford hasn’t been singing as much as she’d like to, so lately it’s been a matter of trying to get her voice back in shape to do justice to King’s music.
“Like in Beautiful, my main focus is honouring the record and people’s experiences of the record,” she said.