Indiana Music: Album – Bobbie Lancaster – “Live”

In the year following her debut, self-titled album, Bobbie Lancaster has continued to present her Americana chanteuse sound to audiences — via solo shows, radio gigs and on-stage with fellow folkie Tim Grimm for his John Prine tribute shows.

Her latest release is a live album (Bobbie Lancaster – “Live”) compiled from a pair of area shows. The first was an Indy Folk Series show on March 19; the other, a concert recorded in Bloomington on June 8 for community radio station WFHB’s Local Live series.

The album succeeds because Lancaster’s voice is a gem — expressive, sultry, and world-weary enough to make us think she’s experienced a bit of life.

One of her best, “I Don’t Wanna Miss You,” leads off the album; it’s a tune filled with longing and anthemic chord changes that hits the same vein as Mellencamp’s “Minutes to Memories.” “Hairless Monkey” shows Bobbie has been listening to Prine. “Run That Light” mines blues territory and provides a chance for Lancaster to stretch her vocal chops (“Baby, run that light, because I am on fire”).

Other highlights include “The Rain,” from her days performing as Stella and Jane, and the epic “The Tragic Tale of Maggie Donovan,” from her recent studio release.

Lancaster’s lyrics are sweet and strong, providing insight into a woman’s head and heart. They carry the work, since the music is spare — just two instruments (Lancaster on mandolin, Nick Einterz on guitar).

While the recording could have benefited from a bit more high end in the mix, and the folk series recordings sound subtly thinner than the radio set, those are minor quibbles with a release that gives the listener the feel of being in a room with Lancaster as she lets flow a raw, tight, stripped-of-gloss show.

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