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Wednesday, November 26, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 17.0° F  Fog/Mist
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Toby Lightman is spellbinding at Café Montmartre
Toby Lightman plays a collegiate homecoming show at Café Montmartre on Thursday, Feb. 15.
Credit:Joe Uchill

It is unclear whether Toby Lightman keeps her eyes closed throughout her set because she, too, is captivated by the intimacy of her concert, or if the short, petite singer just needs all that focus to support a guitar that appears to be twice her size.

If it is the former she wouldn't be alone -- the warmth of her voice over a band populated by just two guitars stilled the crowd throughout her set at Café Montmartre on Thursday, Feb. 15. If it is the latter, no one in the room would be surprised -- the club's mic stand didn't seem to lower far enough to keep from blotting out her entire body.

For Lightman to play without a drummer shows how far the UW grad has come. Her career launched as a commercial singer/songwriter, with a sound that layered accessible pop and R&B over Dido-style synthesized beats. (Wyclef Jean was an early supporter.)

But she retooled her approach on her second album, Bird On A Wire, and with the spellbinding all?acoustic show last night, Lightman has made clear her real strength is writing music for a live band.

It's this incarnation that her fans came to see; few, if any in her audience appeared to be on the other side of the tremendous divide between the two albums. And the "new" Toby Lightman left her fans breathless.

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