So Much Shouting / So Much Laughter
On which the super prolific indie goddess and queen of DIY Ani DiFranco documents one and a half years of crisscrossing North America and even a few European clubs. Those familiar with her backlog will testify to the ever changing, searching quality of her songwriting, and her performances have that element in them as well, with her music constantly shifting character from day to day, from performance to performance. Her six-piece live band proves to be absolutely amazing as well, picking up her every shift as they go along, adding subtle and not-so-subtle layers of sound and rooms to her music. It really is such a joy to listen to these people, especially on the longer — and often older — tracks, where they’re allowed room to stretch out and move around.
The first disc here is a rocking, E-Street-like affair, on which DiFranco proves her capacity and ability as songwriter, performer and confident bandleader. The second disc concentrates more on her funkier material and her political/feminist songs, with new track “Self Evident” being a particularly pleasing nine minutes — a song written in the wake of September 11, and apart from Steve Earle’s Jerusalem, one of the few brave musical comments on/protests against US government.
Two CDs with two hours of live recordings are ambitious by most people’s standards, but if anyone can pull it off these days, DiFranco is the one. So Much Shouting / So Much Laughter is a huge and meticulous release and a welcome addition to her already amazing discography. If you’re not already familiar with her, this is as good a time and a place to start as any. Gotta catch ’em all. Have fun.
Righteous Babe Records: http://www.righteousbabe.com