Partial Review of KRBE Private Sessions

Since is excerpted from the original article which appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Jan. 12, 1997, I'll let Jennifer Heather Davidow (who typed it in) explain why she only entered a portion of it.

hi all,

following is a partial review of the KRBE Private Sessions (Vol. 1) CD. I've included all the stuff about Sarah (very nice stuff, I might add) but not everything about the other artists (kind of indifferent stuff).

from the Houston Chronicle, "The Zest", p.6, 12 January 1997.

Intimate Pleasures: 'Private Sessions' provide pure venue for songs

KRBE calls them _Private Sessions_. MTV calls them _Unplugged_. Whatever their name, the beauty of streamlined acoustic shows lies in their directness and intimacy.

Those qualities certainly show on this collection of 10 songs by five acts who played KRBE's _Private Sessions_ series in recent months at the Art Institute of Houston.

Such shows were performed in a small room holding about 50 people, mostly radio listeners who'd won tickets.

The 40-minute CD is almost as exclusive, with only 2,500 copies printed. They're available at Mobile One locations for $7.99, with proceeds benefiting AIDS Foundation Houston.

The concerts usually ran about 30 minutes, and KRBE made tapes of them, from which artists chose their best numbers. KRBE's programming department then picked from those tunes to set the CD's lineup.

Jewel and Sting were tardy in tabbing songs, and Donna Lewis just played recently, so they're not included. But all are expected to appear on a Volume 2 CD this spring, along with more music by some of the acts on the first one.

In the meantime, KRBE is airing some _Private Sessions_ performances, including some songs not necessarily approved for the recording.

In effect, this album's headliner is Sarah McLachlan, whose superb Dec. 7 solo show provides the opening tracks: _Possession_, _The Path of Thorns_, and _Ice Cream_. McLachlan performs the last two on acoustic guitar and the first on piano, but it's her vocals that stand out.

For her previous Houston concert with a full band at the Music Hall, McLachlan seemed indifferent to expansive showmanship [is that good? - JHD]. But a solo format well serves her intense yet reflective material, and her vocal styling here is inspired.

Unlike its original rock incarnation, _Possession_ becomes slow, contemplative, and starkly dramatic. The exquisitely melodic _Path of Thorns_ then has some of her best vocal vamping, via an enhanced falsetto and catches in her voice.

While most tracks here have fast fades and minimize crowd reactions and artist chitchat, _Ice Cream_ opens early, as McLachlan asks the sound mixer for "a teensy bit more guitar." It closes with some terrific scat singing and a mighty wail.

The rest of this disc is good, though McLachlan is a hard act to follow.


Note from me (Julian): I have a copy of this CD; if you e-mail me nicely I might be able to make you a copy.