There's a certain breed of genuine female singer-songwriter -- think Jolie Holland, Cat Power and Neko Case -- that offers a quiet, insistent counterweight to all the high-exposure booty-shaking that dominates the vapid wasteland of the mainstream airwaves. Add Tara Jane O'Neil to that list. A damaged waif whose soft, thoughtful voice is haunting, O'Neil sings with the inner strength given to those who use art as confessional. But she's no pushover, nor is she a whiner. While her lyrics are honest and revealing, they also pack a punch, throwing listeners off balance with unexpected word flips and imagery that seem to come out of left field yet still cut to the quick. O'Neil's latest album, In Circles, was recorded entirely in empty wooden houses around Portland, and the songs are warm and organic. This is definitely a show worth seeing.
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