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BEST VOCALIST (FEMALE) Minneapolis 2000 - Brenda Weiler's

It's not just that Judy Collins vibrato--so assured, so second-nature, and never really precious. And it's not that post-Ani delivery, with the funky stops and starts, bent words, and hard R's. She's a DiFrancophile, alright, but Brenda Weiler's own rapt following--at countless coffee shops and the 400 Bar--connects with her on her own terms. The Weilerphiles have good reason, too, even if their heroine hasn't matured into the artist she might be: That huge, mighty, yet pretty folk-pop voice comes out of a mouth that can speak eloquently about "issues" to her audience, and from a head that seems steadier and clearer as she gets more passionate. She's a voice of authority, in other words. Still, the gifted Fargo native is no wall of bombast--a welcome variance in gifted Fargo natives--and her straightforward, sisterly songs about female self-image lend themselves to her conversational rhythms. Catch her before she stays too long, says so long, or says hello there to a nation of Liliths.

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