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Marcellus Hall At Mercury Lounge, Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

"They say she's well read, and it's not just her looks. No, that's what they said but you can't judge a lover by her books." I guess it takes one to know one. A fellow songwriter that is. That's what Craig Finn must have thought when he gave Marcellus Hall the plumb opening slot on Craig's solo jaunt round the country.

Marcellus Hall is a  young looking smartie pants singer songwriter with a good backing band and uneven but not bad album The First Line to his credit. He was uneven at Mercury Lounge as well. Starting off very well and with a sound that seems to be traveling back and forth between his sometimes harmonica and the always punctuating violinist and while they are a rock band, they are quite willing to step into a country waltz if necessary.

But Marcellus isn't much of a front guy, there is something a bit unfriendly in his demeanor. and as for his songs…  There is a cottage industry in singer songwriters, you can't throw a brick without hitting one. And if a Lucy Schwartz or a Patrick McGraff aren't making it, you've got to be breathtaking to break through. Hall has breathtaking moments, if you are gonna uses a comparison like "an orange is orange but so is a carrot" you're gonna make lots of friends, that you will lose when you suspend disbelief oi the final verse for the sake of a rhyme, of the interminable dead fan song "One Drop Of Rain'.

Best of all is Marcellus's inspired steal of the hook to "Big Yellow Taxi" on "Star Position"  -a terrific song and a promise that the man is the real thing.As for the set? An orange is orange an but so is a carrot.

Grade: B

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