Sara Bareilles Brings Piano Pop to Revolution

After opening for James Blunt, Counting Crows, Aqualung, Marc Broussard, Guster, and Maroon 5, Sara Bareilles' 2007 chart success of her single "Love Song" helped put her name atop the marquee. With three albums, several high-profile TV appearances, and a performance at last year's G-20 economic summit courtesy of first lady Michelle Obama, she's earned respectability and reaped its rewards. No wonder — her multi-octave vocals and edgy jazz-pop piano style have summoned comparisons to Norah Jones and Fiona Apple, while her effusive performances assure her a stardom all her own.

As for support act Greg Laswell, his somber ruminations recall other haunted souls who delve into the twilight worlds of inner turmoil and stark confession — Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, and M. Ward, to name a few. But Laswell's ability to draw from his real-life experiences makes his songs seem both real and surreal. His four albums — plus a stunning covers EP — affirm his penchant for sketching cinematic soundscapes for his weary ruminations. All that subdued ambiance still leaves an emphatic impression, though. His latest release, Take a Bow, is no exception, merging intimate minor-key ballads with stirring melodies. Yes, the album title proves prophetic.

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Lee Zimmerman