When talking about Jonathan Richman, critics and fans find it nearly impossible to refrain from using the word "childlike." The term is rarely ever meant as an insult: After all, many of the songs from Richman's nearly 40-year career are imbued with a sense of wonderment at life's little joys. But his reliance on whimsy doesn't keep the singer-songwriter from tackling more adult concerns: Much of 1996's Surrender to Jonathan dwelled on his divorce, and many of his fan-favorites show the sharp edge of love's keen blade. At Richman's March Off Broadway show, he played mostly songs from his then-unreleased album, Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild, a record that's often somber and reflective but still packed with a reverent awe for everyday mysteries. Richman's songbook is vast and varied, and his live performances are often boundary-breaking celebrations where the singer, his songs and the crowd merge into one.
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