There’s a certain beauty to live or home recorded demos. The personality of the performer comes through much stronger when stripped of expensive production, allowing the gap between us and the performer to get a little smaller. With Linda Bruner’s Songs For A Friend, the gorgeous songs on here make it feel as if you’re sitting right beside her in time.
Recorded in a guitar shop when she was 17 in the ‘60s, the six songs on this EP capture a phenomenal talent who unfortunately we will most likely never hear from again. With her low alto voice that recalls Janis Joplin at the top of her game, Linda’s voice cascades over the gentle picking of an acoustic guitar and shows a great deal of nuance, vulnerability, and emotion. The original and aptly titled “Song Linda Wrote Herself” is a sweet love song that benefits from the raw recording since the song is not only strong enough to stand as is, but has a genuine sense of feeling to it as well. Songs such as these seem like they should be among greats such as “My Old Man” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” On covers of songs like the Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down,” her enthusiasm for the material is beautiful and it becomes a case of the cover rivaling the original due to sincerity alone. The same can be said for her rendition of “Georgia On My Mind,” which she sings with aching emotion and a rich twang, effortlessly hitting the notes and capturing what is at the core of the song..
The last anyone’s heard of her was that Linda was on the run after being involved in a check fraud scheme. That was over 40 years ago. It’s truly such a shame since her EP, recorded live, is spellbinding enough to be on par with the likes of Jeff Buckley and Elliott Smith.