LIVE REVIEW: Abigail Lapell in Cambridge, MA (06.01.24)

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LIVE REVIEW: Abigail Lapell in Cambridge, MA (06.01.24)

“It’s good to be back where I belong at Club Passim,” Canadian singer/songwriter Abigail Lapell told a sold-out Club Passim on Saturday. Lapell is currently touring in support of her latest album, Anniversary—a departure for the folk singer as it is a collection of love songs.

Lapell’s music has been described as prairie noir or noir folk. It’s mostly dark and haunting. She sings a lot about fear and anxiety. Interesting for someone with such a pleasant onstage demeanor. She has deep, breathy vocals. On Saturday, she played a lot of songs from the new album. Her 75 minute set included a song (“Halfway to Mexico”) about being on the road and one (“Count on Me”) inspired by her sister who got married a year and a half ago. “Anniversary Song” is “about the milestones and the passage of time that we mark with music.”

Before singing “Waterfall/La Cascade,” she queried the audience if they wanted her to sing it in French or in Franglais (the latter got the most votes). Lapell quipped: “I would say I’m Toronto bilingual which isn’t a lot but it’s something.” When she played the bluesy “UFO Song” about a UFO sighting in Saskatchewan, she explained, “I’m just into writing Canadian folk songs.” The song “Rattlesnake” required audience participation in synchronized stomp and clap.

The charming, endearing Lapell has stories and anecdotes and even jokes—when she asked the audience for another round of applause for opening act Audrey Pearl from Burlington, Vermont, she asked how many in the audience were from Burlington. When she sang a love song with an unhappy ending, she said: “I wonder what the overlaps is between Burlington dwellers and unhappy relationships.” I laughed out loud at that one.

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