Capping off a string of critically acclaimed studio albums, Ginny Owens's Live From New Orleans offers listeners a glimpse into her live performance while sneaking them a preview of her fourth studio album at the same time. Ginny Owens doesn't offer up a typical live experience with this release, however. Instead of relying on big-budget productions and stadium-sized crowds, Ginny opts for the restrained and quiet atmosphere of a smaller venue on this, her first live album.
Not surprisingly, this stripped-down approach allows Ginny's songs to shine even more brightly. Her jazz-infused, piano-driven melodies are conveyed here without the distractions of any studio effects, while her soulful vocals remain at the forefront of each song. This all adds up to an airy, coffee-house vibe where Ginny and her piano are featured prominently, yet leaves the band enough room to improvise with timely jazzy interludes here and there. The crowd never becomes a distraction either, preferring to let itself be known through polite applause and restrained cheers. Despite the lack of noise, the audience is clearly enjoying itself as Ginny Owens takes full opportunity to talk to them openly, offering up a timely story before breaking into "Call Me Beautiful."
Overall, it's the tangible warmth and intimacy of Ginny Owens's performance that makes Live From New Orleans such a worthwhile listen. Far removed from the over-ambitiousness and bluster of most live recordings, Live From New Orleans is a refreshing look at one of Christian music's most respected singer/songwriters.
*Note: The last track "Live Once" is not a live recording, but a studio track previewing her fourth album Long Way Home.- Review date: 1/27/06, written by Sherwin Frias
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