All 13 songs on this compilation were recorded in 1997 and 1998 during the first two seasons of the live public television concert series Sessions at West 54th. It leans heavily on singer/songwriters, including tracks by Ani DiFranco, Shawn Colvin, Sinead O'Connor, Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, Natalie Merchant, John Hiatt, Sheryl Crow, and Emmylou Harris. As a bit of variety from that format, there's a cut from country-rock-pop crossover artists the Mavericks; a duet between Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach on "Painted from Memory"; and slightly experimental techno-funk-rock by David Byrne on "I Zimbra." Like the series itself, this anthology is recommended for mainstream rock fans with more adventurous tastes than most mainstream rock fans.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger