It isn’t my night. Few things irritate more than getting there on time and the act goes on late. On the bright side, I’m at the Acadia Cafe, getting a chance to catch gifted vocalist-songsmith Courtney Yasmineh. Turns out to be an uneven set, but when she’s on, Yasmineh brightly engages.
The Acadia is helping Hard Times, the holdover hippie joint across the street, keep the West Bank, well, West-Bank-ish. At least that little corner, anyway. The staff dresses down, the atmosphere is kind of bohemian, and the music is always original (has to be, by law covers ain’t allowed—a licensing thing). So any time an assignment sends me there, the evening can’t possibly be a total loss.
Courtney Yasmineh is top-shelf talent. Whether she was simply having an off night, battling the sound system (for all its virtues, the Acadia isn’t renowned for its sound), she didn’t get her world-traveling track record out of a Cracker Jack box. Scrubs don’t play Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam (this past September) as well as the U.K. (London, Dublin come March). Not to mention the legendary Café Wha? (NYC).
Beautiful Lonely is her newest disc, following Early Days (2004) and Sufi Line (2005). It is fine work. Smart lyrics set to tight alt-rock with solid vocals. “In Common” rides a laid-back groove, musing, “Man, don’t you know that a woman looks better when she’s the apple of everyone’s eye/ And her eyes are on you.” (Argue with that.) The poignant, upbeat “Part I Like” kicks tough and flows smooth, brandishing Yasmineh on beautifully sweet-sour vocals. “How about if I love you from over here/ You love me from over there/ Don’t tell me don’t tell me we have to share/ Every ‘cause everything is so hard/ And I’ll admit that I’m a little too scared/ I just want the part I like.” Ever been there?
Stayed through her set ‘til the last dog was hung. Then, soon as she finished, hit the bricks. Headed home, looking forward to putting Beautiful Lonely on the box.