REVIEW: Laura Cantrell, at St Bonaventure's, 4/5, by Keith Clark
ACCOMPANIED by Son Volt guitarist Mark Spencer, Laura Cantrell opened with two songs from her last album. California Rose and 14th Street were followed by even-older Queen Of The Coast.
The Nashville-born singer-songwriter only rarely crosses the Atlantic. She not only makes her fans wait for live gigs but also for records, having released only four albums since her debut in 2000.
She has, however, issued a new album, No Way There From Here, and most of the set list was made up of the new numbers. The release features songs as strong as the title track, Can't Wait and the poignant Letter She Sent, all of which made it to the set list, so those critics who say this is her best album yet may be right.
Mark is an incredibly good guitarist, as he demonstrated in Do You Ever Think About Me. But his over-complex and sometimes strident style occasionally overwhelmed the fragile beauty of Laura's voice and her melodic, literate-narrative songs.
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As the gig progressed she returned to familiar songs including the title track of her breakthrough album Not The Tremblin' Kind, the bittersweet The Whiskey Makes You Sweeter and the beautiful Two Seconds with which she closed the show.
Quality rather than quantity is all very well, and Laura is undoubtedly a quality performer and songwriter. But a bit more quantity when it comes to tours and releases would also be appreciated by her huge army of fans.