Brooke Waggoner: Live last night
By Juli Thanki
"If at any point this becomes, like, lame piano girl music, you have to tell me. That's not cool." These were 24-year old Brooke Waggoner's mid-show instructions to the Wednesday night Jammin' Java crowd, which, thankfully, never had the need to interject.
Nashville-based Waggoner has an extensive background in classical music, having earned a degree in Music Composition and Orchestration from LSU in 2006. These years of formal training were evident during her 45 minute set as she effortlessly inserted complicated orchestral runs in between bursts of indie piano pop.
(Rom-com soundtrack star in the making, after the jump.)
As she tours behind second album "Go Easy Little Doves," her blend of chamber music and pop sensibilities has invited comparisons to Regina Spektor and Sara Bareilles. Though it occasionally gets a little too close to the line separating quirky from insufferable, Waggoner's music is brimming with kooky, clever lyrics, delivered by reedy soprano.
A highlight of the evening was the playful "So-So," which calls on Waggoner's classical vocabulary: "I played him a favorite concerto / He yelled profundo while I played allegro / And then he tip-tap-toed through my accelerandos." As many of her songs feature shifting tempos, the audience tended to be unsure of when a song was actually over, waiting for a befuddled beat before applauding.
Seeming genuinely surprised at the requests for an encore, Waggoner returned to close the evening with the title track from her first record, "Heal for the Honey," a lovesick lament that sounds as though it should be on the soundtrack to Zooey Deschanel's next indie rom-com. Given how quickly her star is rising, it'll probably happen sooner rather than later.
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