Carletta Sue Kay: Music Preview

Carletta Sue Kay is a creation of Randy Walker, a large man who puts on wigs and dresses and, backed by a rock band, sings beautiful, often lovesick songs with a skilled tenor voice. This may tempt you to make some assumptions about Carletta Sue Kay, possibly about drag queens and/or a gay fan base – but resist that urge. Rather than serving preconceived notions, Carletta's incongruous presence serves to heighten the drama of her songs. It helps that Walker is an incendiary singer who can surge from a soft lilt to a hysterical climax — and then back again — with unnerving ease. (Find online a video of “Cruel, Cruel Man,” from an earlier Great American Music Hall performance, to see this in action.) Carletta raises a number of questions, but also one major certainty: When she is onstage, your attention will be, too.

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