Monday, April 14, 2008

Erin Bode at Nighttown 2 April 2008

All of the smaller music venues around town that book national acts have favorites that come back over and over. Erin Bode is one of my favorites, and she played her third show in three years at Nighttown last week. The jazz vocalist from St. Louis was once again backed by a three piece band, featuring Adam Manass on piano, who is also co writer of much of their original material.
What separates Ms. Bode from a lot of the current crop of jazz singers is her song writing and unusual selections of covers. She opened the first set with songs coming from an untitled album coming out this June. “Out of Time” featured a great bass introduction, and Bode added a little scatting to the lyrics. “I Won’t Be Chasing After You” is one of the several originals about broken relationships. She opened the second set with “Holiday,” one of the better songs from her 2006 album Over and Over.
This time around she gave her band a little more room to work, and it gave an overall better sound. The best instrument in the band, however, is Bode’s voice, either as a train whistle in the background or grinding out a lyric ala Ella Fitzgerald. Her range is terrific and she uses it to its potential.
Amongst the covers she did were two from Paul Simon, “Born at the Right Time” and “Graceland”; a wonderful almost naked version of U2’s “With or Without You”; a jazzed up version of Bob Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll be Staying with You”; and a beautiful version of Irving Berlin’s “Count All My Blessings.”
I really like Erin Bode. She has a great voice and is backed by a solid band, and her original material is very good and she does a great job with covers. Her stage presence is compelling, and the fans she does have adore her. She has spent the good part of the last few years fighting with her old record label and has just signed with someone new. Let’s hope putting those problems behind her will allow her to concentrate on the music in the near future and allow her to spread her popularity to a larger audience.

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