Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, Zoe Muth | SPACE | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, Zoe Muth All Ages Soundboard

When: Sat., July 9, 8 p.m. 2011

On her second album, Starlight Hotel (Signature Sounds), Seattle's Zoe Muth wears her love for classic honky-tonk on her sleeve, but she's not on some tedious retro trip—rather than singing in the brash style you'd expect given the flavor of the music, she's almost demure. Mariachi horns spice up the opener, "I've Been Gone" (a la Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire"), and concise solos on pedal steel and Dobro deftly frame her sweet voice, but Muth's lyrics are thoroughly contemporary. On "If I Can't Trust You With a Quarter (How Can I Trust You With My Heart?)" she dismisses a potential suitor after he uses her money to pick a lousy song on the jukebox: "When you said you'd never heard of John Prine / Well I knew right away you weren't worth my time." Her voice is sweet, and she shapes her words precisely but softly, articulating them without crisp edges—she sounds a little like a cross between Iris DeMent and Emmylou Harris. She has yet to develop a really broad expressive range, so she sometimes comes off a little one-dimensional—but given that she's got all the other pieces in place, I expect that one to follow soon. —Peter Margasak

Price: $15, $12 in advance

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