On her new Music for Lovers and Fighters, Sara Beck conjures a dreamy pop-soul hybrid that's a refreshingly understated alternative to the hyper-emotive, melisma-happy dreck that dominates pop and R&B radio. (People do still listen to radio, right?) It helps that she has a lovely, airy voice that can seduce you without smacking you over the head with a sledgehammer. Hell, don't just take our word for itStevie Wonder was so taken with her rendition of Amazing Grace at a memorial service that he invited her onstage during his December 2007 Sommet Center show to perform one of her own songs, complete with a Stevie harmonica solo. That song, To Love Somebody, is among the 13 mostly upbeat tracks Beck wrote or co-wrote for the album. Other highlights include the horn-punctuated Pieces of Sunlight, Where the Sidewalk Ends (based on the Shel Silverstein poem of the same name) and Get Out of My Head, featuring some trippy touches by her husband/co-producer, Park Chisolm.
Thu., April 30, 7 p.m., 2009