There is always a place for a pretty song and a pretty voice -- not one of the greater axioms to be sure, but nonetheless true. And it was strained to the limits last night at The Door.
Singer Priscilla Herdman tried her best to bury her crystalline vocals and lush material in a series of stale, forced monologues and dated poses taken directly from the winsome folkies of the early '60s. Casting her eyes downward, her speech merely a murmur, she recited her lines with all the spontaneity of an announcer fresh out of the Columbia School for Broadcasting.
Fortunately for her and her listeners, Herdman's voice refused to be ignored. It glided effortlessly over songs by Pete Seeger and an obscure Australian poet and then sauntered through a witty version of "Brother Can You Spare a Dime," which was updated to, what else, "Brother Can You Spare a Buck." Her voice overextended itself somewhat in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," never quite summoning up the necessary intensity, but rebounded forcefully on an a cappella number about the travails of steel workers.
Priscilla Herdman has a wealth of natural singing talent. She should consider handing over the folky schtick to other performers who are less in doubt.