Pete Yorn Live From New Jersey

When he emerged on the scene five years ago with Musicforthemorningafter, Yorn was immediately hampered by the image of being a pretty boy with the right connections. But while he hasn’t yet shed that image for a more Woody Guthrie-esque one in order to gain respect, Yorn’s recent willingness to wear other influences on his sleeve is starting to cause more people to take him seriously as an important American songwriter. Live From New Jersey will surely heighten that reputation, as it captures Yorn and his band on a good night in front of an intimate, small-town audience. A three-guitar attack for most of the show certainly punches up the songs from his two studio albums, but Yorn is also able to manage quieter moments well, as on songs like "Turn Of The Century.” But Yorn really proves his mettle on a rousing duet with keyboardist Joe Kennedy on the Elvis staple "Suspicious Minds.” And with this being Springsteen territory, Yorn can’t resist throwing in "Atlantic City” as an intro to show closer "Murray.” It’s a nice capper to a package that provides a much better picture of an artist that deserves a fairer shake. I’m ready for the next album already. (Columbia)