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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Another Movie Starlet Successfully Crosses Over to Singing

If there was something wonderful to break up the monotony of dealing with the madness of holiday shopping sales or waiting in line at a local market holding last minute turkey fixings, it was the arrival of Hollywood starlet Minnie Driver, who gave Boston a uniquely soulful singing performance in her Boston debut, on November 23, 2004, at the Paradise Rock Club, in an 18 show.

Driver proved that she wasn’t trying to promote her first album Everything I’ve Got in My Pocket based on the enormous popularity of her acting career, but could actually carry a tune, which is delivered confidently and clearly through her powerful, yet sultry, soothing voice. Driver has tremendous range and showed the crowd her singing ability flexes from ballads to pop. Her stripped-down, jazzy version of Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart was a crowd pleaser ironically, as well as Crowded House’s, Something So Strong, which she acknowledged and attributed to the Finn Brothers, of the band Crowded House, whom she had just finished a U.K. tour with a few days before.

She told the audience a little story behind the album title, Everything I’ve Got in My Pocket, which is also the first track on her CD: “My dad used to play a game with me, when I was a little child. If I could guess how much money he had in his pocket, ‘I’m betting everything I’ve got in my pocket’, he would let me have it, to by sweets at the local shop. The other song lyrics, ‘So come on and lay down with me,’ have absolutely nothing to do with my father,” as she laughed along with the crowd. “He wanted me to clear that up before any rumors start. I actually merged in the song thoughts and feelings of two different people, an ex-lover and admiration of my dad.” This rare performance proved to the Boston crowd that she had the goods. Minnie Driver and her band took the stage with a unique blend of backing instruments, such as the slide guitar and an oversized violin, uncommon to the Paradise night scene, giving the nightly rock spot something different to remember. Her band was made up of fine musicians from other popular groups such as G Jaffee, a keyboardist from the Wallflowers, bassist Brett Simons and percussionist Brendan Buckley Browne of Liz Phair, Doc Dauer from Pete Yorn and Eric Haywood of Son Volt on guitars. Her stage presence was full of style, class, sophistication, beauty and sarcastic charm and shone through brightly as she cracked jokes, playfully danced with her band members along to the hypnotic bass grooves, Sade style. Driver interacted very well with the crowd always smiling in between songs, showing a great sense of humor, story telling and even held her cool, while giving back a few doses of sarcasm to a few unappreciative hagglers in the audience. Most of the crowd seemed to be into her music and appreciated it for what it is. Driver’s intimate night of melodic music vocals definitely won over her audience. She had people dancing, and they were still talking about the performance while exiting the club chattering away with positive remarks as an absolute delight. Driver’s performance was a much softer approach, using her vocals added an adult contemporary detour from the loud, ordinary, head-wrecking sounds of screaming guitars that younger enthusiastic bands often lean towards with yelling lyrics you seldom understand. Her style is a mixture of jazz and country; two words seldom found together describing a performer. Although her singing is very unique and definitely her own style, some of the music in her songs sound like it could also fit to that of Sade, Fiona Apple, Sarah Mclachlan, Natalie Merchant, or a softer sounding Bonnie Rait, whom are all outstanding female performers. It seems as if Driver could easily fit in amongst them, if she continues her creative path, which means writing and rehearsing new material and giving it the same personal attention as her successful movie career.

Some people who are used to seeing Driver on screen rather than stage, said she was actually quite good, however, many people do not realize that this would have been her career of choice before acting. She had a record deal in the works with EMI at the age of 15 , while singing Jazz in local night clubs in London, but landed the role in the movie, Circle of Friend’s ,with actor Chris O’Donnell and her acting career began to explode from there with other hits such as Goodwill Hunting and Return to Me, and so she put her singing career aside, until presently revisiting her old love of music. Driver’s debut album Everything I’ve Got in My Pocket consists of eleven songs written and performed by Minnie Driver, is in stores now found on Zo/Rounder record label and is a great addition for someone that enjoys adult contemporary music.