Heather Woods Broderick - Ms. Broderick is by herself with an echoplex styled electric guitar and her cool resolute voice. Her fingerstyle of strum and bass line makes a big and mysterious background for her slightly haunting vocals. She is somewhere between Marissa Nadler and Mandy Morton, but she adds some roots to a few of the songs, so she is working her own neck of the woods here. Broderick also switches off to a piano for some nice variety. Speaking of which, the Jesse Marchant band comes up to add some keys, drums, bass, and backing vocals for a few songs and Mr. Marchant himself lays down a nice bit of electric guitar on the closing cut. It is great to see this kind of variety and camaraderie with the touring acts (She will join Marchant for his set, too) and it is a magical little set by the time it has concluded. This is the kind of live show that is quite exciting and even a fine contrast to her smoother and steadier album, which I can also recommend.
Jesse Marchant - It was a year ago I first experienced the excellent live show from Montreal's Jesse Marchant and his band. I predicted bigger and better things for him when others would get around to discovering him.... I am still waiting. The good news is that the moderate audience is rapt, attentive and fully appreciative of the qualities in the songs and the presentation. NPR is here, I am here, and there are a lot of people that have figured it out, too. Everything I hear tonight makes me want to just add a few exclamation points to my previous rave review. I try to pin him down to Jackson Browne trying to be Tim Buckley or John Martyn, although mostly he reminds me of an obscurity called Beau the way he can take a good folk song and ratchet it up to full rock. He has the points in between covered and it simply boils down to the warmth and accessibility of his songs as well as his personal vision. The songs are quite enveloping and a set of about 70 minutes worth of his songs is barely enough or perhaps just right. Shows are slowing down as the holidays approach and this was a perfect one to take in as it will stay with me for some time.
Photo Grab of the Night: While I think the blues is a lot more complicated in its history and authorship, the Robert Johnson mystique certainly is an interesting and important part of that. This was just discovered as possibly the third photo of the blues legend, according to at least one facial recognition expert.