A graduate of Stanford
, a former employee of computer giant Cisco, and a classically trained pianist, Vienna Teng shortens the distance between Beethoven and 'Sixties folk, delivering a mixture she refers to as "chamber folk"
that will surely remind Tori Amos
fans of, well, Tori Amos. Maybe Teng doesn't push the lyrical or sonic envelope as far as the volcanic Amos does, but tracks like the dreamy "Whatever You Want" from Teng's Dreaming Through the Noise
will certainly cause Amos fans to double-check the catalog. On record, Teng tends to work with classical musicians and color her piano-based compositions with swatches of moody cello
, plucked violins, smoky European accordion
, and the like. Her music is the stuff of cold, rainy days where tortured souls like Liza Minelli
sit on the couch and look out the picture window at their own woe-is-me blueness. What has brought Ms. Teng the acclaim
and fanbase that she has is that she delivers her material with consummate grace, a deft Streisand
touch, and clever arrangements. There'll be people holding hands
and looking meaningfully into each other's eyes at this one, so don't be surprised if someone proposes marriage or the person sitting next to you has tissues close at hand. - William Michael Smith
Vienna Teng performs Tuesday, March 13 at McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 713-528-5999.