Singer in the Storm

Holly Near

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Singer in the Storm Review

by William Ruhlmann

Holly Near is in excellent voice on this live album, most of which was recorded with only pianist John Bucchino's accompaniment, with other instruments overdubbed in a studio. Like many performers who make their living on the road, Near is at her best in a live setting, which is one reason her second recording, A Live Album, became one of her most popular. Unlike that set of new material, this one largely consists of familiar Near songs and covers, several of them in Spanish, notably a duet with Mercedes Sosa on Sting's "They Dance Alone." The exception is the driving, autobiographical title song, on which Melissa Etheridge plays guitar. One might have hoped for a set list more representative of Near's overall career, but this is a good snapshot of her Latin American-dominated musical agenda of the late 1980s, and you have to expect a topical singer like Near to present her current concerns to you in concert. (Not to be confused with Near's 1991 spoken-word tape Singer in the Storm: The Life and Music Of..., released by Enhanced Audio Systems.)

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