Actor-singer-guitarist and two-time Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris (Fun Home, Assassins), who recently debuted as new Batman villain Professor Pyg on Fox’s Gotham, will show his pop and country music side in A Very Loose Cattle Christmas, a December 11 concert at the Sheen Center in New York City with his band, Loose Cattle.
The concert is timed to showcase Loose Cattle’s new Christmas album, Seasonal Affective Disorder, out now.
Cerveris told Playbill, “For me, this whole record grew out of a sincere love of Christmas songs in all their weird variety. I still play my Partridge Family Christmas LP every year—it’ll be more melancholy now, having lost my childhood hero David Cassidy so recently. I grew up loving Christmas, and I still love it, but I recognize that a lot of my holidays are kinda more like Charlie Brown’s Christmas than The Waltons.”
In addition to Gotham, Cerveris is appearing this fall on Amazon's The Tick, and Steven Soderberg’s Mosaic on HBO.
Seasonal Affective Disorder contains songs by Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Merle Haggard, and Tom Waits. Cerveris solos on some of the songs, and sometimes shares vocal duties with Kimberly Kaye. She will take part in the 7:30 December 11 concert, which is scheduled to include a number of guest musicians from New York and New Orleans.
Describing the concert, he said, “We have lots of fun Americana tunes like ‘A Truckstop Christmas,’ George Strait’s ‘Christmas Cookies’ and the John Denver classic (to us, anyway) ‘Please, Daddy (Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas).’ There are Southern soul and R&B tunes like ‘Got To Get You Under My Tree,’ and ‘The Day It Snows On Christmas,’ melancholy country classics like Willie Nelson’s ‘Pretty Paper,’ and Merle Hagggard’s ‘If We Make It Through December.’ And then two of my favorites, Joni Mitchell’s ‘River’ and Tom Waits’ ‘Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis,’ both in stripped down, heartbreaking versions beautifully sung by Kimberly with a revered New Orleans piano player, Tom McDermott, some soulful fiddle by Justin Smith from the orchestras of Violet and Finding Neverland, and haunting banjo by Bennet Sullivan from the Bright Star band.”
Loose Cattle will include Jon Graboff on pedal steel, Justin Smith on fiddle, Joe McGinty, Rod Hodges. They will be playing “great New Orleans arrangements written for us by Mark Mullins,” Cerveris said.
“We'll be joined by Will Chase, making good on his Nashville success and my good friend Laura Cantrell, who's my longtime favorite country singer and songwriter in town—and she's from the actual Nashville. And then, a probably once in a lifetime treat. Two of my good friends from Gotham are going to make their public singing debuts with us! Ben McKenzie (who some folks may also know from The O.C.) is from Austin, and he and I would spend time singing Robert Earl Keen songs between takes of Professor Pyg battling Jim Gordon. And Robin Lord Taylor, who I had the best time making eat "people pies" in our Sweeney-meets-Chicago-meets-Silence-of-the-Lambs episode of Gotham, is going to grace us with a rousing version of the Pogues' classic ‘Fairytale of New York.’ The Sheen Center will never be the same. Consider this our apology in advance.”
The concert will also include an original song Cerveris wrote with Kaye. “From the beginning, we wanted to say something honest about how hard this time of year can be on people. It seems harder and less kind than ever these days. But I'm also one for trying to find a light even when you're trying to chart the darkness. And it seems like, if we're ever going to find a way through the dark days, it’s going to have to be by being that little light for each other.”