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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Lisa Loeb Shows Depth of Talent

A year and a half ago, singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb looked like a potential one-hit wonder, mainly because her hit, “Stay,” arrived without an album or even a record deal to back it up. Now she’s got a deal signed and an album out, and her Los Angeles debut at the Roxy on Tuesday showed that there’s enough talent behind those distinctive eyeglasses to give Loeb some staying power.

There’s nothing shockingly new about Loeb’s music, but her blend of coffeehouse folk and modern pop is smart and inviting. She was a confident and friendly presence on stage and easily connected with an enthusiastic crowd. Her confessional lyrics don’t get much beyond the hurt of murky relationships, but her chatty banter between songs proved she’s not without a sense of humor.

The diminutive singer has a big voice and delivered her songs powerfully without ever over-singing them. She’s also a skilled guitarist, and her playing was at the heart of the sizable sound kicked up by her slickly competent backing trio, Nine Stories.

Occasionally Loeb’s songs are marred by some overly clever wordplay or turns of phrase that seem plucked from Imagery 101--dancing angels, falling stars and burning candles all get put to use. But her music is strong and heartfelt, and her performance was compelling.

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