I quit smoking a little over 2 years ago. “Quit” might not be the best word, because I’ll still have one or two in direct proportion with how much I’ve had to drink. Regardless: I can’t imagine that my 8 years or so of smoking half-a-pack per day has significantly altered my voice. Gil Scott-Heron, alternately, has cultivated a voice that’s so well-worn with smoke and tar that it yellows my screen when I listen to him sing.
“New York Is Killing Me” was on local radio this past week, and it captured me immediately. It’s funky, soulful – and, given my affinity for the Mets – strangely apropos. (Although I am certainly aware that he isn’t referring to my baseball team of choice.) Plus, the handclaps get me every single time.