Wendy Woo

Ms. Woo would make a fine role model for any musician looking to make a career in a city, like this one, that's far from the industry power centers. Rather than begging the management of Boulder's Fox Theatre to put her on the bill, she took a job there as a bartender -- and before long, the Fox's management was booking her to open plum shows for national acts. When it came time to make recordings, she didn't rely on others to do the heavy lifting. In addition to writing, singing and playing her own songs, she served as producer and even studio engineer. Today, she's got a first-rate website (www.wendywoo.com) and a busy gig schedule -- especially this week. She's at Avogadro's Number in Fort Collins on Saturday, May 1, and the Fox on Sunday, May 2, celebrating the release of Walking the Skyline, her fifth CD in seven years.

The disc itself offers what fans have come to expect from Woo: intelligent singer-songwriter fare, professionally played and earnestly performed. The title cut and a cover of the Beatles' "Blackbird" are sleepier than they need to be, but "One-Way Street," "Gravity" and a slinky version of Bill Withers's "Use Me" are seasoned with a dash of sass, and "I Can't Go," a bonus track, is alluringly intimate.

Skyline isn't a giant artistic leap forward, in part because Woo never strays from her comfort zone. Listeners familiar with her style will discover no surprises, mild or otherwise. Still, it's another solid outing from a woman who's learned the benefits of doing things for herself.

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