Aimee Mann as photographed by Kelly A. Swift on June 6 at House of Blues, Anaheim.
Aimee Mann's melodic folk rock sounds nothing like the loose, freewheeling mix of alt country folk and rock 'n' roll grunge pioneered by Neil Young, but the two artists do have something in common.
Both artists have unique voices and styles that involve listeners for reasons related to powerful songwriting and how those songs eternally seem to work their magic as we go through life.
If what I'm writing here doesn't make very much sense, check out Aimee Mann's latest CD, "@#%$*! Smilers," and then make sure to catch her in concert as soon as possible. For my part, I couldn't have been more pleased with her amazing performance at House of Blues, Anaheim, on Friday, June 6. In addition to her role on lead vocals, acoustic guitars and keyboards, Mann was backed by a simple two-man lineup of bassist Paul Bryant and keyboardist Jamie Edwards. But the sparse lineup and compelling arrangements suited material from throughout her career delivered well on this night early in her summer tour.
She began her set featuring material from her latest CD, including opening with the infectious single "Freeway" and going on to play many of that disc's greatest tracks, including "31 Today" and "Medicine Wheel." She also played several reworked covers (a highlight being Elton John's "My Father's Gun") and plenty of surefire works from her own career. "Red Vines" and "Invisible Ink."
She was relaxed and sang and told stories and it was a wonderful night. By the time she finished with a rocking version of "Deathly," I knew I had just caught one of my favorite shows of 2008.