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Ane Brun, The Wood Brothers Preview

| July 26, 2006

Ane Brun, The Wood Brothers
Park West, Chicago
Friday, July 28, 2006

The biggest Scandinavian singer-songstress you never heard and one half of Medeski, Martin & Wood on the same stage!

Both, or all, these cats will be opening for the strikingly handsome, if otherwise unremarkable Xavier Rudd. If you’re already on your way, it’s recommended you don’t skip the openers; if you weren’t going already, it wouldn’t be a punishable offense to leave early.

Ane Brun’s Duets and this spring’s A Temporary Dive (V2) achieved platinum status in Norway, statistics altogether unimpressive and irrelevant. But stacked against the similarly blonde Norwegian starlet Annie, whose bounce and verve have led some to call her the indie Madonna, it’s refreshing to have someone come along and remind us most time spent in Norway is in darkness. Brun idles away most of her days deep in the chasms of her heart, giving the reverbed Temporary Dive a distinct Nick Drake-meets-Beth Orton face. Sharply written if a little lopsided in the frowns department, Brun can be sassy on the jazzy “Song No. 6” with Ron Sexsmith, or a paragon of vulnerability coming to grips with suicide on “Where Friend Rhymes With End.”

You’ll not need to crane your neck to hear or blow into a snot rag so often for The Wood Brothers. A fraternal reunion for Oliver and Chris (of King Johnson and Medeski, Martin & Wood, respectively), Ways Not To Lose (Blue Note) is hardly indicative of either band’s Memphis-bred blues rock or fusion/jam/funk. Leaning more solidly in Oliver’s direction (a number of these songs are from prior KJ releases), the brothers do acoustic roots blues a favor with their soulful harmonies. “Chocolate On My Tongue” finds Chris’ standup bass pulling rubbery maneuvers; “Where My Baby Might Be” creeps under a devilish, Tom Waits-learned harmonica; and “The Truth Is In The Light” takes a drink from a muddy gutter.

— Steve Forstneger

Click here for a Real Audio sample of Wood Brothers’ “Luckiest Man.”

Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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