10 December 2006

Sonya Kitchell & Ben Taylor @ Paradise

Sonya Kitchell was second opener for Ben Taylor at Paradise last night, and an unfortunate opener she was. Something about her vocal style is flat--maybe her vocal dynamics, maybe her hesitancy to enter into a melodic phrase--and she has neither the stage presence nor the musical chops to handle the classical stylings she takes on.

This is particularly unfortunate juxtaposed with Taylor, who has the songwriting skill as well as the pipes to go up against nearly anyone. Even when he doesn't write the songs, he chooses well; a cover of Mos Def's Favorite Nitemarewas one of his most effective songs, with its lovely, unsettling flow complementing Taylor's smooth, reedy voice. Enjoyable live tricks like singing harmony to his own, ellipsized melody make it clear that he's a comfortable, mature vocalist, and his stage presence is remarkable--one of the few performers I've seen able to induce quiet in the club crowd for a sweeter, unrollicking tune, and effortlessly no less.

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1 comment:

Michelle Hotaling said...

Great review! I was really curious about the show... I adore Ben Taylor and hope to catch him live someday. I'm surprised to hear that about Sonya though... she seems to getting a lot of industry support behind her.