The Austin Chronicle

Live Shots

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, August 15, 2008, Music

Suzanna Choffel

Lamberts, Aug. 7

The lack of audience didn't prevent Suzanna Choffel and her backing trio from lighting up Lamberts. It might have been because she apparently knew almost everyone there, but, more likely, it was due to the graceful confidence of her music, which allows Choffel to make every performance feel as if it's late night and she's in a South Austin living room grooving for the pleasure of it. Her smoky voice and bright-red axe were accented by Johnny Vogelsang on bass, drummer Eldridge Goins, and Brad Houser, who alternated between baritone sax and bass clarinet, with Matt Hubbard joining in on piano midset. Houser's angular honking and Vogelsang's slinky rhythms at times recalled the sexier side of Morphine, but Choffel's songs are less ominous, more dappled in sunlight. She took some chances with "Hot Shot," an interesting tune she claimed to have never played before that sounded Tom Waits rickety, and a Brazilian song that displayed her effortless guitar playing. Choffel's come a long way since her only album, 2006's Shudders & Rings, and is worthy of a much larger yet equally attentive crowd the next time around.

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