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Nichole Nordeman
[ live at the door ]

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LIVE AT THE DOOR (2003)
Live at the Door - Click to view! My first thoughts upon receiving a copy of Ms. Nordeman's Live at the Door were something like, "What, only eight songs?" I suppose recording a live album with only three studio recordings under your belt would limit your material enough already, but really? Thankfully, my worst fears about the seemingly under-ambitious project were put to rest upon popping the disc into my CD player.

Live at the Door's eight tracks actually span a two-day recording session at The Door, a popular venue for Christian and mainstream bands alike, in Dallas, TX. If you're expecting to hear the typical pop flair of producer Mark Hammond, don't get your hopes up. Live at the Door is exactly as its title implies: live, raw, and intimate, performed using mostly Nichole's piano and an accompanying acoustic set. It's also a fair summation of Nichole's work so far; in fact, the only album not decently represented is This Mystery, which was perhaps her best. Only the virtually untouched "Fool for You" made the cut, although the addition of an accordion gives the song a very classy swing, kind of like something you'd hear in a nice Italian restaurant.

Appearing from Woven & Spun are a dominating four tracks, including a worshipful rendition of "Holy," the touching and beautiful "I Am," a more laid-back "Legacy," and the ever-appropriate closer, "My Offering." From Nichole's Wide Eyed album are two cuts, "To Know You" and "Is It Any Wonder," but the real treat here is her cover of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." As proven with "In Your Eyes," on Woven & Spun, Nordeman has a knack for making her covers sound like her own original work, and this one is no exception. So much so, in fact, that if you had never heard Lauper's version before, you would think that "Time After Time" was a cut from Nichole's Wide Eyed days. Its soothing, creative flow, not to mention that it's new material, gives it a place deserving of special recognition on this record.

Honestly, you won't miss anything by passing this record up, although doing so would be a mistake. Live at the Door is Nichole Nordeman at her natural best display of talent. Avid, longtime Nordeman fans will want it to add to their collection, while listeners just getting into her music can pick it up for a befitting introduction. The dilemma lies for those who fall in the middle of the spectrum. As an avid, longtime fan of Nichole's work myself, however, I do have to say I'm feeling a little cheated by the mere eight tracks. Know what I mean?
- Rick Foux
May 2003
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