Fun times were had by all on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 when I attended Lauren Elder and Friends at Stage 72 (formerly the Triad Theatre). I remembered Lauren from seeing her in the revival of Hair on Broadway. She always captured my attention when I saw the show, so when my friend Bobby Cronin invited me to her solo concert, I just had to attend.

I was beyond delighted I experienced this brilliant evening of music and song. Lauren's voice is stellar...big, bold, and very controlled! Not only is Lauren a fantastic singer, but she has quite a future as a songwriter. With talents on the ukulele as well, Lauren sang a mixture of original songs and covers. She lit up that stage extra bright! Joining Lauren in this venture were the talents of Katie Kiyan, Allison Guinn, Brett Dameron, Bobby Cronin, and Brett Teresa!

I really enjoyed Lauren's self-penned songs "Sometimes," "Wrong Place," "Don't Leave Me," "Dreamy Afternoons," "Something Inside," and "Wintry Vacation." All of these songs had to deal with love and loss and Lauren captured these emotions perfectly! The next time, I'm looking for an album to explain all my feelings, I will be sure to put on Lauren's (so she better record it soon). Throughout each of these songs, Lauren's voice excelled. From big belty moments to soft reserved sounds, Lauren knew to use her powerful vocals. One thing Lauren did in her songs was whistle in a very cool way for her musical interludes between versus. While it was fun to hear in the first song or two, I hope going forward, she does not put it in every song, but reserves the whistle for those special moments. 

From Left to Right: Bobby Cronin, Katie Kiyan, Lauren Elder, Allison Guinn and Brett Dameron.Out of all the cover songs Lauren sang, I loved her stripped down version of Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" the most. It was so beautifully orchestrated and arranged, that I know if Paula heard it herself, she would cry. This brilliant configuration demonstrates exactly how on the mark Lauren is about her craft! She also scored big points with Ella Fitzgerald's "When I Get Low I Get High." Lauren brought much feeling to this jazz standard!

Another great part to this evening was getting to hear Lauren duet with one of my favorite singers/songwriters, Brett Teresa! They killed it together on "Rootless Tree," a song from Masked Plays that Lauren and Brett performed in together. In addition to this great duet, Lauren's first encore was, "Dear Daddy," one of my most cherrished songs by the award winning composer/lyricist Bobby Cronin (from his Broadway-bound show "W2ML"). Lauren was spot on in conveying the emotional intensity of this song about a girl who lost her father. To round out the evening and end on a high note, Lauren's second encore was a group performance of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire." It was evident just how much fun all these performers have together. They made leave the show with a big smile and feeling of joy!

Lauren Elder is definitely a singer/songwriter on the rise! I can't wait to see what's in store for her! For more on Lauren be sure to visit http://laurenelder.wordpress.com and follow her on Twitter and Facebook!

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