Monday, December 17, 2007

you send me, an angel

When I manage to block out concerns like the melting Arctic ice shelves due north of me, Social Security, or U. S. foreign policy, I'm a pretty happy kid. But nowhere near as happy as Nina Storey. I sat this weekend crunched into the audience of an intimate San Francisco loft party (fifty of us maybe?) where Storey, a solid, giddy seraphim, sang for a few dreamy hours and, seeing her so fulfilled, I wondered if she was on Ecstasy. But no, talk with her later indicated that she's just like that.

Let me try to get you there: Etta James, Tori Amos, Norah Jones, and Koko Taylor all rolled into one in a smart, darling, effervescent package. Her subject matter runs from an NPR-inspired number on domestic violence to a heartfelt ode to the metal roller skate. She's all impossible charm and whimsy. She's got lungs like you would not believe, unswerving vocal control, and a vibrato that ranges, rages, and rattles cages. A human that manages to purr. I can't say her recordings do justice to her live performance. She's really all that in person. But a CD may do ya in a pinch. (I challenge you to play "Give Me a Reason" in the car and resist singing along. I find myself hollering along without even realizing it sometimes, missing exits, fleeting past stop signs, rolling off roads into the brush. And still, we sing.)

Here are some lame pictures. (I asked my imaginary admin Hillary to get me a camera, but she's busy Christmas shopping for herself.)

The ecstasy-cherub thing happening.

See Etta reference above.