Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

Transgender singer, songwriter, and performance artist Baby Dee landed on the radar of most indie-rock fans with 2008’s Safe Inside the Day. Released on Drag City and produced by Will Oldham and Chavez’ Matt Sweeney, the album garnered backing from members of Antony and the Johnsons and found an unlikely bassist in Andrew W.K. Although 2010’s A Book of Songs for Anne Marie is technically the follow-up to Safe Inside, it’s a bit more complicated than that. It was actually released in 2004 as a limited-run book with a bonus album. Revisiting the material, Baby Dee collaborated with arranger and producer Maxim Moston and a small ensemble of cellos and violins. She takes to the piano, inhabiting a ruffled, searching warble to convey the most fragile of song cycles. The winking wit of Safe Inside the Day gives way to the more classical ballads of A Book of Songs. The frequent burrs of Baby Dee’s expressive voice take some getting used to, but the sheer beauty of entries like “Unheard of Hope” and “Black But Comely” is enough to quiet any reservation.

Karl Blau and Jeffery Manson open.
Fri., April 30, 9 p.m., 2010

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