Three Little Words

Maude Maggart at the Algonquin Hotel on Friday, April 16.

Maude Maggart has a wonderful voice, but recordings don’t do her justice. So much of her performance is in the performance—in her expression and bearing, in the intimacy she creates as she sings, the crooked smiles, the elegantly raised eyebrows, the hushed notes you have to hold your breath to hear in the small room—that CDs feel inadequate by comparison. Audio alone lacks that spark that makes her such a mesmerizing singer.

But in person, she’s magical. Her latest program isn’t so themed as the ones I’ve heard previously (Parents and Children and Good Girl/Bad Girl, still my favorite), but it, too, is perfectly paced and very thoughtfully put together. I never get over just how good Maggart is at getting her listeners to really listen to a song, mull over its lyrics, and experience the arc of its melody as if for the first time.