From the very first shimmery guitar effects and tentatively plucked notes of Ane Brun’s “To Let Myself Go,” you can tell that the brief but potent career of Jeff Buckley has impacted yet another European singer-songwriter. Buckley’s influence isn’t limited by geography or gender, so it was no surprise when the Norway native—whose name I’ve been unintentionally butchering for several months, not that I’ve been pronouncing it “wrong” per se (just imagine Björk saying it and you’ll get an idea of what Brun sounds like introducing herself)—segued from her song “Where Friend Rhymes with End” into the late rock icon’s “So Real” at the Living Room in New York City, the final night of her U.S. promotional tour. The medley gave me pause (not to mention chills), and not just because of her pained take on the often overlooked Buckley tune, but because it’s utterly evident that it pained Brun to write “Friend,” one of the most heartbreaking songs on her U.S. debut A Temporary Dive. (“It does exist,” she insists of Spending Time with Morgan, her international debut that’s currently unavailable stateside.) “I can’t believe I’m writing a song where friend rhymes with end, but today I must cave in,” she sings, her body rocking gently with the same sadness that likely compelled her to compose the song in the first place. Brun, dressed in a demure black dress, an army-green cap, and black chucks, performed the bulk of Temporary Dive along with one Morgan song (“Are They Saying Goodbye”) and the semi-“happy song” “My Star” as an impromptu encore. Another happy song, “Song No. 6,” made more sense performed live, switching up the tempo and mood of the solo acoustic set, than it does on the otherwise consistently mood-setting Temporary Dive. The song is perhaps the album’s sole flaw, but only because of context, not quality. On the other hand, Brun’s live show—from her pristine vocals to her immaculate guitar-work on the ominous, metaphor-laden “The Fight Song” and “My Lover Will Go”—is practically flawless.
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