Elizabeth & the Catapult, Christina Courtin, Will Phalen & the Stereo Addicts, Farewell Milwaukee | Beat Kitchen | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Elizabeth & the Catapult, Christina Courtin, Will Phalen & the Stereo Addicts, Farewell Milwaukee 

When: Sat., Oct. 10, 9:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $10
On Christina Courtin’s recent self-titled debut for Nonesuch, you’d be hard-pressed to hear much trace of her classical pedigree—though she studied violin at Juilliard and has worked with the likes of Yo-Yo Ma and Dawn Upshaw, she sings idiosyncratic pop songs that seem to take Joni Mitchell’s music as a point of departure. Courtin relishes melodic variation, and some of her tunes sound through-composed; instead of returning to the same melodic shape for each verse, she explores new nooks and crannies every time. The inventive, multifarious arrangements, assembled with the help of guitarist Ryan Scott and jazz bassist Greg Cohen, help her avoid repeating herself—there’s a dose of folk-pop here, some Tin Pan Alley there, and a little walking jazz around the corner. Unfortunately when she aims for Billie Holiday’s lilting phrasing she gets knotted up and a little breathless, and when she tries to sound emphatic she just ends up strident. She’s got no shortage of good ideas, but she needs to train her too-small voice to cooperate. Elizabeth & the Catapult headline; Courtin, Will Phalen & the Stereo Addicts, and Farewell Milwaukee open. —Peter Margasak

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