Who starts a concert with a minute of joyful silence? A genius like Lynn O’Brien, that’s who.
After the silence she started in with an a cappella world beat piece like an acoustic tUnE-yArDs number but more accessible. Lynn led the sold out crowd at the Hook and Ladder into her space so comfortably she turned it into a shared space. She wordlessly brought the audience in to clap and sing with a call and repeat gesture.We were hooked.
Lynn is also a music therapist; I know that work is distinctly separate from her work as a musician but there’s a positive influence on how she interacts with the audience and brings them along on a magical ride. Her music is about triumphing – as a person or as a community.
How Can I Give my Love Away? is an uplifting, personal song with a country guitar, a brushing drum and strong, almost bold gospel voice with the balance of the backup vocals. There’s an easy swing to the song. It’s the kind you think you can sing in the shower, but most of us can’t. What’s lovely is that often such a song is about heartbreak and this song is about sharing your heart, not necessarily with one other person just with the world.
And she has some anthems. Whoa. Letting You Know is about settling boundaries – with the refrain of – she’s letting you know. It should be required listening on college campuses, high schools, workplaces all over the world. It’s sassy. More like jazz with the keyboard and a more playful side of Lynn’s voice. But my favorite of the night. The song I think they should choice for the Women’s March Minnesota theme for 2019 is Rising. It starts as a softer song with a 70s easy beat for storytelling that builds into a rap of spoken poetry. It’s not a charge to act, it’s a soundtrack to what’s already happening. It’s a celebration and recognition. Where Lynn’s voice is bold and ebullient in How Can I Give My Love, it is controlled and in command for Rising.
She has such a good feel for when to be loud, when to be soft and when to sing nothing at all.