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Rachel Efron 

When: Wed., Nov. 4, 8 & 10 p.m. 2009
Price: $14

For all her whispy-voiced brooding, Berkeley singer-songwriter Rachel Efron has a sophistication that distinguishes her from the average young woman at a piano. Classically trained, she gravitated to the most expressionistic composers in the canon (Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy), along with a wide range of hard-hearted rock and folk vocalists -- all of whom bleed into her music. Efron's new album, 4AM,is largely about transitions, hope, female fortitude, and that sort of thing (hence the allusion to dawn). It's a work of very patient songcraft, enhanced by the singer's chemistry with drummer Jon Arkin and bassist Dan Feiszli. In twelve ballads, the three of them achieve a fine balance of sweetness and emotional heft. There's a lot of melancholy beneath Efron's pretty patina, but that's what makes it interesting. Efron performs at Yoshi's (510 Embarcadero, Oakland) on Wednesday, Nov.  4. 8 & 10 p.m., $14. Yoshis.com


— Rachel Swan

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