Sarah McLachlan and Butterfly Boucher

The voice that launched a thousand careers (from ATB to Paula Cole and dozens of other imitators), Lilith Fair founder Sarah McLachlan took "Possession" of the female singer/songwriter crown in 1993 with her third album, the multi-platinum Fumbling Toward Ecstasy. One can hardly blame her that so many less talented artists seized upon her atmospheric folk sound without the voice, songwriting talent or lyrical acumen to pull it off. However, in the decade since, McLachlan's released exactly two albums, neither expanding nor straying much from the original blueprint.

Given McLachlan's established role as patron saint of female songstresses, it's appropriate that hippie lovechild Butterfly Boucher should open. Boucher's colorful life -- from a childhood with her six sisters in the Australian outback to busking with her siblings across Europe -- helps her debut, Flutterby, sound like the work of a far more mature artist. Boucher plays all the instruments and has more ideas in 40 minutes than Avril Lavigne has had in 20 years. If there's a complaint to lodge it's that Boucher tries to fit too many into a single song, careening -- not uneasily -- from one musical style to another, fueled by her fine voice and spunky free spirit.


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