More often than not, when Boston native Melissa Ferrick takes the stage, she does it next to her drummer, Brian Winton. That's next to, not in front of. And even though Winton doesn't hold back when playing his full kit, Ferrick's voice and acoustic guitar prove she deserves the equal footing. It doesn't mean that Ferrick is just full of loud fury--she's certainly that--but she's also able to sing a soft love song with deep, heartbroken sincerity. This intense dichotomy is acknowledged in "Back in Love" from 2002's Listen Hard where Ferrick warns, "Yeah, I clean up real nice/Smile ear-to-ear/But I'm packin' a thousand watts/In case I need to see my way clear out of here."
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On her new live album, 70 People at 7000 Feet (it was recorded in Flagstaff, Arizona, in front of--you guessed it--70 people), Ferrick and Winton alternately duel and support each other with bombastic, jaded affronts and symbiotic cohesion. The simple recording, released on Ferrick's own Right On Records, is a far cry from the polished pair of albums she made in the early '90s on Atlantic, but it captures the rawness and emotion that have always been integral to her songs and serves as a continuing reminder of the power of a woman and her guitar.