High Five

5 recordings Shepley Metcalf feels would be a good introduction to Nyro

Richard Howard

Shepley Metcalf.

Inducting singer-songwriter Laura Nyro into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last month, Bette Midler talked about how overdue she felt the honor was. Hub cabaret singer Shepley Metcalf agrees, saying she was “completely obsessed” with Nyro as a teenager.

But Metcalf knows that, while people may be familiar with Nyro’s songs, which were hits for artists — like the 5th Dimension and Blood, Sweat & Tears — many aren’t familiar with Nyro’s own recordings. With help from Tom LaMark on piano, Chris Rathbun on bass, and Yoron Israel on drums, Metcalf pays her own tribute with a show at Scullers on Tuesday dubbed “Can You Surry? The Songs of Laura Nyro. ” We chatted with her about five recordings she feels would be a good introduction to Nyro. “It’s such a blend of jazz and pop and rock and R&B and art song, she really pulled from all of those sources. I like that variety.”


1. “Eli’s Comin’ ” “I think it’s got this powerful drive and the main lyric says it all: ‘Eli’s comin’, hide your heart girl.’ That guy is trouble.”

2. “And When I Die” “I think it’s incredible that she wrote that when she was 17. It’s quite philosophical: There’s going be a world to carry on when I go, it’s OK.”

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3. “I Never Meant to Hurt You” “I think it’s a beautiful apology song and there aren’t many of those around. It’s very simple but very poignant.”

4. “Gonna Take a Miracle” “Both the album and the song — it’s R&B covers — had beautiful harmonies and was a whole other direction for her to go.”

5. “Emmie” “What a gorgeous love song and one of the first pop songs written by a woman about a woman.”

Shepley Metcalf plays Scullers on Tuesday at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. 617-562-4111,

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