Jennifer O'Connor and her band took the stage to around eleven people and dug deep into her excellent Matador debut Over The Mountain, Across The Valley And Back To The Stars. As the opening act for Portastatic, I'd expected O'Connor to perform solo, but she had a four-piece backing her up. O'Connor isn't flashy and has no shorthand hook, but confidently presented some of the year's best songs with absolutely zero pretense.
About halfway through the set, a respectable crowd had gathered to listen, and O'Connor treated the crowd to a single solo song. (You can hear stripped-down versions of four songs from the album via her Daytrotter session.) But the band complimented O'Connor's sad but forceful songs well, particularly on the set and album closer, "I'll Bring You Home", which is in the running for best album closer of the year, with a chorus that's lonely and sing-along loud at the same time.
Starting tonight, she starts a new leg of her tour, this time opening for the Mountain Goats in the South. She'll also be playing at a Bob Dylan tribute show at Avery Fisher Hall November 9, also featuring Bob Mould, Cat Power, Jay Farrar, Roseanne Cash, Jill Sobule and many others.
Matador has posted two songs from Across the Mountain, "Today" and "Exeter, Rhode Island". Buy the album here, and also check out her second album The Color and the Light on Kendall Meade's Red Panda Records.
MP3: Jennifer O'Connor - "Today"
MP3: Jennifer O'Connor - "Exeter, Rhode Island"
MP3: Jennifer O'Connor - "Track 12" (from The Color and the Light)