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Wednesday May 24, 2017
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Alejandra O'Leary

 

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weeks after forming it.

For those unfamiliar with O'Leary, she is a real talent who has been gaining a strong following in Ann Arbor since she arrived here with her boyfriend, a U-M law student, a year ago. Born in Portland, Maine, O'Leary spent five years as a musician in New York City (where she cut her first album, Nothing Out Loud) before her move to Ann Arbor. Once in Michigan, she had to reestablish a fan base and initially did so by performing her songs solo on guitar. However, vascular problems in her left arm made playing guitar increasingly difficult, so now, with the backing of her new band, she has switched to keyboards.

O'Leary's voice sounds like a combination of Jenny Lewis and Victoria Williams, and her songs are both catchy and fun-- polished, straightforward, and barroom accessible. But they also have a certain lyrical toughness that's reminiscent of another Williams, Lucinda. In "Broken Mirror Baby" (the title track of her brand-new second album), she delivers lyrics about "talking smack and shooting your mouth off" and getting "the wind kicked out of me." "When Will They Learn" is an anti-crush song about wanting other people to realize the faults of her former boyfriend and stop pining over him--a very Lucinda Williams-ish theme.

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