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Libbie Schrader Gives an Unforgettable Performance

A great close to SPC's welcome week

By Matthew Castagna
On September 11, 2012

   Libbie Schrader began her Saturday night sitting joyfully at the back of Performing Arts Center, reminiscing about the forgotten merits of Bruce Hornsby's "End of the Innocence" while small micro-clusters of students made their way for some iced tea and apple turnovers. After a brief chat on the true nature of modern artistry and Michael McDonald's upcoming performance, it appeared that the audience of about thirteen had reached its max and the Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter took the stage. Bothered by neither the steadily dwindling headcount nor the general lack of crowd enthusiasm, Schrader put her ego behind her and embraced the spotlight. Perhaps like Bolton and McDonald, Schrader takes pride in being a disremembered solo artist, realizing that there are some brands of music that simply bind more strongly to the few. Regardless of the final turnout, Schrader put on a terrific performance that acted as the perfect closer to SPC's welcome week.  

   Libbie Schrader has been a professional musician for over a decade now with a low-key but impressive list of achievements including three studio albums, one EP, an appearance on "Gilmore Girls" and an opening spot on Jewle's  "This Way" tour. But for all her professional merits, the most impressive weapon in Schrader's arsenal is her mastery of intimacy. Unlike her studio LPs that emit a vibrant coat of watercolor production, her performance was stripped down to the bear bones, with nothing but piano, vocals and guitar.

    "I always try to directly connect with my audience," Schrader said after her performance. "I try to bring them places using just my voice and instruments."  

   The highlights of her original material included "Blood Red Moon," the quirky play on the fears of an unplanned pregnancy, opener "Share This" and the mid-set lullaby "Diamond Dust."

   However, as satisfying as the original material was, it was her two covers of Alisha Key's "No One" and Bruce Springsteen's, "Dancing In The Dark," that truly stole the show. While both have been covered an uncountable amount of times, Schrader was able to both convey the heartfelt delivery of Keys' single as well as emulate the 80's synth-bounce of Springsteen using only her piano and emotional attachment.

    "You know I have thought at times about doing a cover album, but if I were to do it, it would be after I was super famous and it would be only my friends' songs," Schrader said when asked about her commitment to covers. "There are so many awesome singer/songwriters that don't get enough exposure, and I wish more people could experience them."

    Beyond the scope of a possible cover album, Schrader seems content with her musical career and plans to invest more time into her academic analysis of biblical history while still running off the drive of her previous studio record.

    "I've been writing a lot of new songs, but I just released this album last year and I'm still kind of running with it because I've been doing this totally unexpected bible research," Schrader said.

   This sudden, seemingly out-of-nowhere interest came about during Schrader's research for her album "Magdalene" and eventually bloomed into a full historical devotion to uncovering the mysteries of the eponymous biblical figure.

   For those interested in Libbie Schrader, you can find out more on her personal website or see her perform in person on Oct 7 at the Rockwood Music Hall in New York City.

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