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Mulling Over Muldaur 

On Maria Muldaur

Everything I've read in advance of this show takes the same general line. And it goes like this: There is so much more to singer Maria Muldaur than "Midnight at the Oasis."

While that certainly is the case, the statement seems to imply something else, namely that there is something wrong with being almost solely associated with that one delightful 1973 hit song. It begs the question: Just what the hell is wrong with "Midnight at the Oasis?"

Well, nothing, of course. Especially since it was performed with great style and success by a vocalist with an uncanny grasp of just about every American musical idiom including blues, gospel, jazz, folk, country and pop. That singer, Maria Muldaur, will be in Spokane Thursday night (tonight) for a performance at the Met Theater.

Muldaur was born in 1940s New York. She spent several years as a Greenwich Village folkie (performing in an early '60s group with John Sebastian, David Grisman and Stefan Grossman) and as a member of the Woodstock, N.Y., music scene (with her then-husband, singer Geoff Muldaur) before moving out to Los Angeles on her own to record a solo record at the behest of the president of Reprise Records. Her self-titled debut contained the Top 10 smash that would make her famous. There and elsewhere on the record, the extraordinary depth and versatility of Muldaur's talents were finally given the showcasing they deserved.

After becoming a born-again Christian in 1980, Muldaur tried her hand at gospel but quickly returned to jazz and blues territory. Most recently, Muldaur has become recognized as on of the country's foremost roots-music stylists as she lends her interpretive skills to a celebration of the many voices of Louisiana music, the quirks and romanticism of which have always been hallmarks of her own work.

And yes, that most definitely includes "Midnight at the Oasis."

Maria Muldaur at the Met on Thursday, July 21, at 7:30 pm. Tickets: $18. Call 325-SEAT.

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