The dampened spirits on the streets in New York is palpable; stores of all kinds have shut down for good, jobs are relentlessly evaporating and people are indulging less often in the city's extensive (and often expensive) offerings. Fortunately, Joe's Pub knows how to put on a show that can make us all forget about the economic woes blanketing the country. Once again, talented songwriters and performers who have made their marks down south played as part of the now notorious CMA Songwriters show - and once again, they were met with excited fans.
Rivers Rutherford, Casey Beathard, Dave Berg, Bob DiPiero and songstress Sarah Buxton put on a boisterous show. A few highlights: a rendition of Rutherford's "There Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You" and Dave Berg's "These Are My People," the latest chart-climber for Rodney Atkins.
Those in the audience were especially lucky to hear Buxton's live version of her single, "Space." In a city where cohabitation is beyond common due to sky-high rents, she sang about a live-in situation gone wrong: her roommate boyfriend told her he wanted "space," to which the cheeky Buxton responded by promptly moving out and moving on.
Performed live, "Space" had an entirely different urgency and feeling, as the recording seems somewhat over-produced and canned. Her incredible and unique voice has to be allowed to break free of the Nashville countrypolitan sound that is so ubiquitous; listeners get a sense of her power and personality when she performs live that is impossible to discern on her record.
To distinguish herself from the pack of blonde, beautiful (and usually less talented) singers reigning Nashville, Buxton should convince the decision-makers at Lyric Street to unleash her raspy and emotional style without reservation. People will likely respond well to a fresh, different sound from a pretty, talented woman who is unafraid to tackle new themes in her writing. Her record is set for a 2009 release.