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Deana Carter plays new and old

Houst of Blues, Anaheim, Cal., May 12, 2001

By Dan MacIntosh

ANAHEIM, CA - Deana Carter is using this brief benefit tour on behalf of Homeward Bound, a pet adoption agency, as a forum to perform both new and older material in a semi-unplugged setting. Carter's show was a success, due primarily to her easygoing Southern charm and the high quality of her songs.

Carter stated from the outset that she believes songwriting is her most valuable asset, and her 12-song set provided plenty of evidence to support this belief.

She cannot go anywhere these days without also performing her nostalgic "Strawberry Wine" or expressing the inherent frustration of "Did I Shave My Legs For This?" But the chance to hear a few new songs was what made this evening special.

Some of this new material sidestepped recognizable country elements, yet still sounded like Deana Carter tunes. "I'm Just A Girl," which found Carter attempting to find her identity within our sometimes anonymous world, sounded a lot like Sixties folk-rock. "Almost 34," a reflection upon Carter's music business career path, rocked even harder and even sounded a little bit like Southern rock in places.

Carter's one cover song of the night was also a minor surprise. She introduced The Bee Gee's "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" as a song she's always wanted to hear sung by a woman. She then proceeded to fill this sad lament with plenty of feminine gentility.

She brought along only two backing musicians, one at each side. Throughout the night, they played mandolin, bass and various electric and acoustic guitars. Carter also switched back and forth between her pink electric and her acoustic guitar. The playing, though sparse, was always appropriate.

Carter's current musical direction may be a little open-ended at this point, but her rock solid songs give her a firm artistic foundation for the future.

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