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Willy Porter & Carpe Diem

Live At BoMA

(Weasel; US: 23 Nov 2010; UK: 23 Nov 2010)

Wisconsin singer-songwriter Willy Porter has spent his 15-year career producing agreeable, Adult AOR, Alternative-friendly folk-pop. Despite his virtuoso acoustic guitar playing, often-catchy songs, and charismatic live shows, though, he’s only occasionally tasted mainstream success. Live at BoMA isn’t going to change that, but it isn’t meant to. Recorded with Columbus, Ohio’s Carpe Deim String Quartet, the mini-album features guitar-and-strings renderings of seven Porter tracks. The collaboration works best when Carpe Diem is content to shade the corners rather than compete with Porter for prominence. The uptempo “Breathe” is an example of all parties clicking nicely. The set draws from Porter’s first few albums and ignores his more recent lackluster work. The gently rolling, heartbreaking “Paper Airplane” is one of Porter’s best, and it’s the highlight here. Live At BoMA is a fans-only deal, but those fans are sure to eat it up.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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