On the tails of 1993’s Like I Said, Ani DiFranco continued her musical (r)evolution with 1994’s Out Of Range. The album traced the Buffalo native’s on-going progression from folksinger to folk-punk goddess, adding brawn to her acoustic guitar-driven arrangements by way of long-time drummer Andy Stochansky and several other musicians. The track “How Have You Been,” which features trumpet, sax and trombone, finds DiFranco reveling in the muscle of a full band for the first time in her career. The singer had also honed her lyrical talents, conjuring vivid imagery on tracks like “The Diner,” and proving herself a consummate observer on a series of exquisite folk-ballads. She pines softly on “Overlap” and “Falling Is Like This,” in which she sings wryly, “You give me that look that like laughing/With liquid in your mouth/Like you’re choosing between choking and spitting it all out.” DiFranco explores her ever-evolving relationship with her fans on songs like “Letter To A John” and the heart-wrenching “You Had Time”: “You’ll say did they love you or what/I’ll say they love what I do/The only one who really loves me is you.” The title tracks appears in two incarnations, one of which is a relatively disappointing first attempt at plugging in (it would be a couple of years before the electric splendor of “Napoleon”). But displaying a wisdom beyond her 23 years and a voice softer and more controlled than before, Out Of Range was a gigantic creative leap forward for DiFranco.
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