Basia Bulat's folksy record Oh, My Darling was rescued from my virtual
recycle bin during a recent cleaning rampage. It's quite the find, if
showing a few blemishes. The opening track, "Before I Knew," makes me
think Bulat is the independent counterpart to British songstress
Corinne Bailey Rae. She's not afraid to lean on her voice or guitar,
even if she does occasionally flirt with campfire cliché. As with
other slight singers in her genre, Bulat tries to muscle up with
strings and excessive instrumentation. The result is often more a
distraction from her impressive songwriting than an enhancement. On
busy tracks, like "Snakes and Ladders," she's competing with the band.
And I find myself pining at times for the singer whose name is at the
top of the album. On the road, however, she's hardly likely to be able
to afford to burden her audience with much more than the essentials.
Here's hoping. With Devotchka. Showbox SODO, 1700 First Ave. S.,
382-7877. 8 p.m. $19 adv. All ages. CHRIS KORNELIS
Sat., May 3, 8 p.m., 2008