The daughter of legendary songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin, Goffin has exquisitely carried on their legacy while establishing herself as a formidable, multi-talented singer-songwriter in her own right over the past few decades. She spent much of the between song time during her bravura 90 minute set talking joyfully about her songwriting, workshops she has participated in, and her many collaborators. Her lifelong dedication to the craft shone through on a diverse set of infectious, rhythmically diverse tunes (many being performed for the first time) drawing her rich array of pop, folk, rock and R&B influences.
Her insightful storytelling and vibrant, visually compelling lyrics kept the appreciative audience rapt, hanging on for the next line of each musical tale. Goffin balanced lighthearted charmers like “It Started A Long Time Ago” and the peppy folk/soul singalong “Playbook” with lilting, lush ballads like “Chinatown” and her summery latest single “All These Hellos.” She wrapped the set paying homage to her parents with a rousing take on “Natural Woman” and her father’s dynamic but lesser known “It’s Not the Spotlight.”
Goffin joked that one of the advantages of doing a solo gig is not worrying about varying the set list last minute. She really didn’t need a bunch of musicians cluttering McCabe’s intimate stage space because she was a one-woman-band herself – alternating between lead instruments based on the feel of the number. While acoustic guitar and keyboards dominated, she used uke to convey the breezy innocence of “It Started A Long Time Ago, banjo to express the quirky fortune of trying to get to heaven “One Dollar at a Time” and a Dylanesque harmonica to help weave the hypnotic storyline of “The Last Time I Saw My Sister.”
With her illuminating smile shining throughout the set and colorful introductory anecdotes before every tune, Goffin made everyone in the audience feel an intimate connection with her. With a commanding yet whimsical onstage presence and a pure voice that switched easily from gossamer to guttural, she presented her tunes in an engaging way while inviting the crowd into her life, passion and process. Goffin offers a unique combination of being a seasoned singer, songwriter and performer with the kind of youthful charm and gentle innocence of artists just starting out.
If you wandered into McCabe’s and sat down without knowing who she was or anything about her parents, you might think Goffin was a very young, crazy-talented upstart instead of someone who made their debut at the Troubadour with Jackson Browne at 17 during L.A.’s golden age.
Trained and inspired by the best of family and friends, she offered a master class in incredible songwriting while keeping the journey fresh and jumping just enough to make everyone leave feeling just, yep, beautiful.