In 1994, folksinger Victoria Williams released Loose, an album that came on the heels of two critically-acclaimed albums and a benefit campaign to help her pay her medical bills incurred by her diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. The album had a major label’s backing and slick production, with the hopes of breaking her. It would be a hard sell; with her unique little-girl vocal style, she was far from a commercial prospect, but in that era, “different” was seen as a worthy investment. To that end, she would spend 1995 on tour with her studio group, an open-ended collective of friends. It resulted in a live album, but another recording, of her performance at New York’s Town Hall, had been widely bootlegged. This year, Fire Records released it for Record Store Day, and recently released an expanded version of the set, the highlight of which is most definitely the jazzy, New Orleans-style take on “Over The Rainbow,” a set-closing song that must be heard to be believed…and once heard, will never be forgotten….
Victoria Williams & The Loose Band: Town Hall 1995 is available now from Fire Records.