Saturday, February 28, 2015

Wonderlust Redux: Live In Eindhoven 2011 Is An Energetic Live Heather Nova Recording!

The Good: Wonderful primary and backing vocals! Great lyrics, Duration
The Bad: Live conceits (crowd noises), Mix is getting a bit old . . .
The Basics: An album given by Heather Nova to her PledgeMusic supporters, Live In Eindhoven 2011 is a worthy addition to her musical library! is rapidly becoming one of my favorite sites (this morning, for example, I discovered that Dar Williams is on there now crowdsourcing her new album!) and the artist who introduced me to the site was Heather Nova. As a supporter of her forthcoming album, The Way It Feels, I was alternately dismayed and elated when she announced that the new album was delayed and then gave her donors a “new” album. The “new” album is Live In Eindhoven 2011 and while Nova claims it would be available on her website, but if it was, I could not find it there!

Live In Eindhoven 2011 most directly follows in the tradition of Nova’s live album Wonderlust (reviewed here!) as an energetic concert experience. The twenty-track album has recordings from, as the name suggests, Nova’s concert in Eidenhoven (The Netherlands) in 2011. Nova was backed by several musicians, so the album has a more full sound than her Live In Cologne 2/26/2014 (reviewed here!), which was available for her fans by buying direct on PledgeMusic.

With almost two hours of music over twenty tracks, Heather Nova presents a decent concert experience for listeners who could not be present for the event. Live In Eindhoven 2011 is a mix of songs from most of her albums and it is not an acoustic set. Instead, Nova plays with rich bass and electric guitars on Live In Eindhoven 2011. Were it not for the difference in sound for the musical and vocal accompaniment, Live In Eindhoven 2011 could have been a dud; half the tracks are the same songs as on Live In Cologne 2/26/2014 and that is troubling for an artist with such an immense body of work!

Live In Eindhoven 2011 makes a good companion piece to Wonderlust, as only five of the tracks are duplicated. “London Rain” is delightfully different on Live In Eindhoven 2011 than on any other recording of hers! Unfortunately, there is only so much she can and does do with “Island” and (as much as I love it . . .) “Heart And Shoulder.” Still, the inclusion of so much music that is from well after Siren makes Live In Eindhoven 2011 a good mix of songs that are different from Wonderlust.

The power of Live In Eindhoven 2011 comes from Heather Nova’s lyrics and voice. On Live In Eindhoven 2011, Nova is backed by Sara Johnson and she is an amazing accompaniment for Nova. Songs like “Until The Race Is Run” and “Fool For You” pop in new and delightful ways with Johnson backing Nova. In fact, the real power of any live album is managing to present a familiar song in a new and compelling way. While hearing “Ride” on Live In Eindhoven 2011 reminded me of the first time I heard that song (and cried!), the most amazing thing came while hearing the new version of “Fool For You.”

“Fool For You” is one of Nova’s more simple songs and the original version of it was not exactly the most electric song in the world. In fact, the version that is on Live In Cologne 2/26/2014 was so unmemorable that until my wife challenged me to count off how many tracks were shared between the live albums, I did not remember that it was even on it! But on Live In Eindhoven 2011, Nova takes her haunting, quiet song and indescribably reimagines it. She did not change the lyrics or the basic tune, but listening to “Fool For You” on Live In Eindhoven 2011, I became overwhelmed with potent memories of every bad decision I made in past relationships in a way the song has never triggered me before! The result (in addition to tears) was a feeling like I was hearing the song for the first time in the best possible way; Nova, backed by Johnson, somehow manage to make the old sound fresh, new and potent in a way the song did not quite pop before!

The result is a live album that seems like it will hold up well and is a decent gift to Heather Nova’s fans. It is certainly enough to hold us over until The Way It Feels hits stores in May!

The best track on the album is “Fool For You,” and by this point, I’ve heard enough “different” versions of “Island” and “Heart And Shoulder” to last a lifetime.

For other Heather Nova album reviews, please be sure to check out:
These Walls
Live From The Milky Way
The Jasmine Flower
300 Days At Sea


For other music reviews, please check out my Music Review Index Page for a comprehensive listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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