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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Moffatt dresses for success

Pasadena Neighborhood Church, Pasadena, Cal., Nov. 20, 1999

By Dan MacIntosh

PASADENA, CA - With her Saturday night purple dress, stocking-less legs and sharp black cowboy boots, Katy Moffatt may not have been dressed for the Sunday service scheduled for the next morning in this very same building. But for the kind of sophisticated cowgirl music this powerful-voiced singer makes, she was truly dressed for success.

Supporting her most country-flavored CD in a while, "Loose Diamond," Moffatt still presented a set of music that kept her well outside the stereotypical role of a typical modern female country singer.

Moffatt's more artsy side was made especially apparent whenever she chose to sing one of her numerous collaborations with Tom Russell. Many times, these team efforts have focused upon historical figures, ranging from Dylan Thomas ("Sparrow of Swansea") to Hank Williams ("Hank & Audrey").

Such lyrical explorations are usually more appropriate territory for folksingers. But this girl from Ft. Worth still has a lot of Texan in her and far too much twang to ever let her become just another waif-y folksinger. (Jewel, you can relax now).

Such Southern roots were plainly shown at the exact moment she started concentrating on her latest songs, toward the end of the show.

`These included the honky-tonk of Hank Williams' "Stoned at the Jukebox," sung with spirit and spunk.

Other country-tinged standouts included her brother Hugh's "Whiskey, Money & Time" and Cindy Walker's "You Don't Know Me."

From start to finish, Moffatt stood up to the microphone with just an acoustic guitar. On the slower ballads, she leaned back and let her mighty voice do the talking. But sometimes on the upbeat numbers, she let her boots high step the songs into gear.

Her encore was highlighted by a surprise appearance by Dave Alvin, who also produced her new album. It was a real treat to hear them duet on the traditional "The Cuckoo" from her latest.

Seeing a Moffatt concert is really best way to experience her music. In the past, Moffatt's recordings have often fallen short in capturing her raw energy. But on this particular night, she had energy to spare.