The dual CD-release party for Ellen Tipper's The Juggler and Marie Moreshead's self-titled full-length album was a stripped-down affair, which was a relief because Blue was packed to the gills.

Tipper opened with her keyboard folk, playing several songs based on her experiences spending time in other countries (Vietnam and England among them). She proved a mellow mood-setter for Moreshead's soulful guitar-based ballads.

The pair of duets they sang — one from each's album — showed the stylistic contrast between the two. When backing Tipper's song, Moreshead seemed to handle the literal story-telling lyrics awkwardly, as if missing the metaphors that season her work so richly. When playing Moreshead, Tipper's fingers flowed more smoothly than when her keyboard was center stage.

Despite a few technical problems (ably handled by semi-official roadie Pat and honorary roadie Drew), Moreshead's performance was strong and smooth, and well received by the standing-room-only house. (Her first show at Blue, a few years back, was in front of her mother and just one other person, Moreshead announced.)

Her words are often happy, but then laid over spare, sad melodies. In some ways it's an inversion of the work of 10,000 Maniacs, which told horrific stories in catchy riffs. And the deep, twangy edge in Moreshead's vocals also evokes Natalie Merchant (with perhaps a sprinkling of Erin McKeown). But whether set up that way or aligned on a single emotional axis, as in "Romans" and the brand-new "Secrets of the Bluebird," her songs really shone.

Related: Photos: Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents at TT's, Interview: The Wippets, From solid to standout, More more >
  Topics: New England Music News , Music, Vietnam, Natalie Merchant,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PORTLAND VS. HER PEOPLE  |  March 19, 2014
    This city, which all agree is lucky to have so many options, has leaders who do not behave as if they have any choice at all. To the frustration of the citzenry, the City Council and the Planning Board often run off with the first partner who asks for a dance.
    Two bills before the Maine legislature seek to pry lessons from the hard time FairPoint has had taking over the former Verizon landline operations in Maine since 2009.
  •   BEYOND POLITICS  |  March 06, 2014
    Today’s US media environment might well seem extremely gay-friendly.
  •   THE ONLINE CHEF  |  February 27, 2014
    It turns out that home-cooked scallops are crazy-easy, super-delicious, and far cheaper than if you get them when you’re dining out.
  •   RISE OF THE E-CURRENCIES  |  February 12, 2014
    Plus: Is Rhode Island ready for Bitcoin? Two perspectives

 See all articles by: JEFF INGLIS