From ballads to rock, Paula Cole showcases variety at World Cafe Live

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Paula Cole | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com
Paula Cole | Photo by Chris Sikich | sikichphotography.com

About half way through Paula Cole’s set at World Café Live on Friday, she arose from her piano to move to the middle of the stage. An audience member loudly exclaimed, “oh there your are,” since she had been hidden behind her piano up until that point. Cole unapologetically retorted that she needed to play a real piano and not a keyboard because of its sound quality and that she is just a frustrated drummer at heart. This directness mirrors her music, which gloriously varied between ballads and rock for the 15-song set.

Playing a variety of works, many from her new album 7, Cole’s voice was as brilliant as ever. Singing about places of import, from home (“Gloucester Harbor Shore”) to the mythic (“New York City”), and transporting casual and dedicated fans to her greatest hits (“I Don’t Want to Wait” and “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”), she delivered a brilliant way to spend a Friday night, or any night for that matter. Chris Bruce delivered some stunning guitar chords and long-time drummer Jay Bellerose complemented Cole’s percussion instincts.

The concert was capped by a brilliant, moving take on Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” A song Cole has been covering with Bellerose since 1994, Cole even added a startling beat-boxing coda to the song. With her seventh album out, she proved that she has a lot of music still left to share with the world.

Setlist
Chickadees (And Sipping Tea)
New York City
Father
Mississippi
Throwing Stones
Gloucester Harbor Shore
Watch the Woman’s Hands
We Don’t Know (Where We Are Going)
Betty-Oh-Beautiful
Bethlehem
I Believe In Love
Feelin’ Love
I Don’t Want To Wait
Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?

Encore:
Jolene (Dolly Parton cover)

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