* Prices may differ from that shown
After buying and loving the studio album Stand Still, Look Pretty by American duo The Wreckers, I decided to purchase their live album too. Way Back Home: Live from New York City is a two-disc set consisting of a CD of their performance in 2007, as well as a DVD recording of their set.
The Wreckers are pop singer Michelle Branch (best known in the UK for hits including Everywhere and Breathe) and country singer Jessica Harp. Their songs combine pop and country styles, with a strong guitar presence. The performance recorded here was a low-key one compared to the arena shows performed by some bands, but this lends the recording an intimate atmosphere, and when you listen to it, it almost feels like you're there with them. This is a positive thing as Michelle and Jessica are no longer recording together, so I won't be able to see them perform live.
Most of the tracks from Stand Still, Look Pretty are included, although Hard to Love You and One More Girl are omitted. These aren't among my favourites though so I'm not too concerned about their omission. Three different tracks are added: Love Me Like That (originally a duet with Sheryl Crow on Michelle's Hotel Paper album), Damn That Radio and Different Truck, Same Loser.
The tracks are well sung and performed with effective harmonies and a backing band. The album tracks are little changed from the recorded versions, except that several seem to have more of a country vibe. Fiddles and similar instruments have a stronger presence at the live concert and both singers play guitar. Some songs sound particularly good live, such as Rain, which has a rockier sound, and my personal favourite Way Back Home. Michelle and Jessica have a good rapport with the audience, joking and exchanging banter, and getting the crowd to sing along during Leave the Pieces (they don't do this a lot though, which is good, as I can find it rather irritating).
Love Me Like That sounds fairly similar to the version on Hotel Paper, while the two new tracks are foot-tappingly catchy uptempo additions to the duo's repertoire which really get the crowd going. They do seem to be more country than pop orientated, but they fit in well to the general sound of the recording.
The DVD is the same concert shown live: the biggest difference, apart from the rather obvious visual addition, is the existence of more snippets of conversation than you get on the CD. This is a good thing as what works visually might get rather tedious to listen to. A rather sweet moment occurs when Michelle announces Jessica's recent engagement to the band's fiddle player and proceeds to dedicate Lay Me Down to the couple.
If you liked The Wreckers' studio album, Stand Still, Look Pretty, you'll like this live CD/DVD set too. It's the next best thing to seeing the duo perform live and the songs all sound really good. In fact, I'd be surprised if anyone who bought the studio album didn't want to get this live version.
1. The Good Kind
2. Love Me Like That
3. Way Back Home
4. Damn That Radio
5. Crazy People
7. My, Oh My
8. Different Truck, Same Loser
10. Lay Me Down
11. Leave the Pieces
12. Stand Still, Look Pretty
The CD is available from Amazon at a cost of £14, but it can also be obtained from third-party sellers: this is how I got hold of my copy, for around half that price. It is also available as an mp3 download for £7.49.