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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What To Do? Wednesday's Pick: Emily Jane White

Posted By on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 at 7:43 AM

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Emily Jane White @ Rickshaw Stop

Emily Jane White's voice -- a veil of lightweight, slightly frayed cotton, with just a bit of singeing around the edges -- meshes so impeccably with her plaintive music that you almost don't notice the bleak lyrical themes due to the fact you're always getting lost in her lovely, soft timbre. Yet an everpresent undercurrent of menace and melancholy runs through White's songwriting. Her forthcoming album, Victorian America, may sound delicate, but White's characters live in a world full of longing and loss, beset by an elegiac sadness reminiscent of early Cat Power, mixed with a little doomed elegance à la breathy New York noir-popsters Elysian Fields. Far from being an exercise in rosy nostalgia, this Victorian America isn't a place one would choose to visit for jovial kicks. It is, however, a lush and sentimental journey in its own right, with instrumentation including cello, piano, and pedal steel filling these tales with plenty of spacious, echoing atmosphere. And of course White's voice is an aura all by itself. Spectral and glistening, every Emily Jane White song is like an alluring, lonely ghost searching for a home. Selfish as it may be, some of us hope she never finds it.

Emily Jane White performs tonight at Rickshaw Stop. (8 p.m., $9.99)

For more Wednesday recommendations, check out our calendar picks.

Follow us @SFAllShookDown.

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John Graham

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