Album review: She's A Keeper - Live at Midwestern (EP)

Not too long ago, I reviewed She’s a Keeper’s self-titled effort from 2011 (see the review here). And to put it plainly, it was just a wonderful little slice of folk awesome. However, too often bands pull off a sonically exciting and successful effort in the studio but suck up the joint when playing it live. I am glad to find that this is not the case for She’s a Keeper. The Live at Midwestern EP is just one more indication that this band has quickly become a local music force to be reckoned with.

As to be expected, the live renditions offer a little more bite than their record versions. The drums break through the arrangements more, and while diminishing the dynamic range that the studio album provides, they provide an extra kick to the gut.

Overall, it is good to hear the increased emotion of the live performance not affect the quality of musicianship. The vocals, one of the key strengths of this band, stay powerful and true throughout. The folks at Midwestern Music Co. who recorded it paid close attention to making sure the songs projected both power and clarity. Overall, it sounds better than a lot of local studio records I’ve heard. Big props to them on this.

From a personal standpoint, I am glad to see my favorite track from the self-titled album performed here. “Branches,” even with its somewhat stripped-down arrangement and cello in need of a slight tune, still comes across powerful, dynamic, and full of songwriting surprises.

Word from the band’s Facebook page seems to indicate the group is back in the studio and that the members “have a good feeling” about the new songs. Based upon this live EP, I’d have to agree with them. 

Though Live at Midwestern was released back in March, She's A Keeper will be celebrating the release with a party this Saturday, August 4 at Czar with Olassa and The Natural State. You can also check out our Artists on Trial interview with guitarist/vocalist Zac Jurden at the link here.

--Zach Hodson

Zach is a lifetime Kansas City resident who plays multiple instruments and sings in Dolls on Fire and Drew Black and Dirty Electric, as well as contributing to many other Kansas City music, art, and comedy projects.  He is very fond of edamame, treats his cat Wiley better than he treats himself, and doesn't want to see pictures of your newborn child (seriously, it looks like a potato).