Vienna Teng / Ben Sollee

Sophisticated.  Elegant.  Grace under pressure even when she makes a mistake.  Vienna Teng is not just another singer-songwriter.  Club Café hosted the Vienna Teng Trio:  Vienna Teng, vocals and keyboards.  Ward Williams plays the cello and electric guitar. Alex Wong is a multi-instrumentalist, who co-produced Teng’s new release “Inland Territory”.  Teng talked about spending Easter in Pittsburgh and taking a ride on the Mon Incline before segueing into “In Another Life”.  She highlighted many songs from “Inland Territory”, which I’ve already added to my personal list of the best of 2009.  “The Last Snowfall”, “White Light”, “Antebellum”, “Kansas”, “Grandmother Song” and “St. Stephen’s Cross” were among the songs she performed from “Inland Territory”.  From “Dreaming Through The Noise” Teng did “Whatever You Want” and the fun “1BR/1BA”.  Teng’s expressions and delicate movements with her hands, shows that she’s really feeling the music.  Teng’s set was over 90-minutes, including a 2-song encore.

When Ari Hest was at Club Café last month, we discussed the Cayamo cruise.  He asked me if we saw Vienna Teng.  I had to confess that we did not see enough of her performances.  The venues were overflowing with people and we only caught Teng’s shows in passing.  When Teng returns to Cayamo-2010, she will be on our must-see list.

He’s from Lexington, KY.  He sings.  He writes songs.  He plays the cello exquisitely.  Ben Sollee did a too short 35-minute set.  Club Café was briefly transformed into a symphonic concert hall when the classically trained Sollee played his cello.  You could see the audience trying to be quiet and leaning forward to hear all the notes.  Sollee was joined by Alex Wong on “It’s Not Impossible”, a song he got to perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”.  Also, from his debut full length release, “Learning To Bend”, he did the amusing “Bury Me With My Car”.  I’d like to hear Sollee with a backing band, perhaps, in the future when Sollee headlines his own tour.  Sollee may return to the area in August.

Barb S. - Sunday Mix Host

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