Multitalented Ani DiFranco is a Cinderella who doubles as her own fairy godmother. Bypassing the main thoroughfares to music-biz glory the Buffalo native started her own record label in 1990, becoming a one-woman conglomerate who served as singer, songwriter, guitarist, bassist, keyboard player, producer and distributor. This 31-song double CD is her ninth album and first live release.
DiFranco calls herself a folk singer, but don’t expect to hear her on A Prairie Home Companion. She’s a woman who has punched a big hole in the wall separating the conscious from the subconscious and who makes the crossing at will. In her songs, she stares down sexual abuse, the horror of entrapment in an adulterous love triangle and the pain of watching a loved one die. Those offended by strong language might have trouble getting past the words, but the message is worth the effort. Sometimes the message is even fun. DiFranco’s stage patter shows a lot of good humor, and also delight at having made it to the majors on her own terms. (Righteous Babe)