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Album Review

A double live album from a relatively unknown singer/songwriter playing her second date with her guitarist might not seem like a particularly promising proposition. Audrey Auld Mezera, however, demonstrates enough charm and talent to hold the listener's attention through the course of these two discs. This set captures a small theater show in Sebastopol, CA, that Mezera played with acclaimed guitarist Nina Gerber (Kate Wolf, Nanci Griffith, Greg Brown). It was a local concert for both Gerber and Mezera (an Australian native who moved to northern California following her marriage) and the friendly surroundings show through the relaxed, warm performances. It's one of those "you're in the audience" live discs, complete with flubs and stage patter. Although Mezera reveals an appealing sense of humor on-stage (reminiscent at times of Tracey Ullman), sometimes you just want her talking a little less and getting on to the songs. This is a testament to the strong collection of material. Mezera, whose dusky country-folk sound recalls fellow Australian Kasey Chambers, exhibits a wry sense of self-deprecation on tunes like "I'd Leave Me Too," "Shove It," "Drinking Problem," "Next Big Nothing," and "Self-Help Helped Me." She balances out these lighter moments with weightier tunes, ranging from songs of love ("Love You Like the Earth") to ones about depression and suicide ("Black Cloud" and "Song for Clax"). Mezera's plainspoken sentimental streak comes to the fore in "My Father," "Hole in My Life," and "Mountain Home." The disc affords her ample opportunity to show her breadth as a songwriter. She supplements her own numbers with cover tunes drawn from likeminded musicians: Fred Eaglesmith ("Alcohol and Pills"), Mary Gauthier ("Karla Faye"), and Patty Griffin ("Mary"). One of the disc's phenomenal aspects is how well Gerber accompanies Mezera; the two sound as if they have played hundreds of shows together, not a few. Gerber spends most of the show in the background, being the expert accompanist on acoustic and electric guitars. She displays some subtle yet tasty twang licks on tunes like "Shove It" and "Ball and Chain," while "Jelly Roll" affords her a more jazzy workout. Gerber does get a couple instrumental showcases, most notably a tender rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine." This two-CD live set provides a wonderful souvenir for Audrey Auld Mezera fans who made, or missed, the show as well as a terrific introduction to newcomers not that familiar with this delightful, gifted singer/songwriter.

Customer Reviews

not as good as in person, but good

i saw audrey live at the cozmic cafe in placerville and was so impressed i bought 3 of her cds right there. the cds don't capture her voice as well as in person but even with that i like her songs, especially "alcohol and pills", "drinking problem", "jellyroll" and "self-help helped me". her song "he's a good dog" (not on this album) is any dog lovers anthem.

In the House, Audrey Auld Mezera And Nina Gerber
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