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I was lucky enough to catch Sondre Lerche live at  South by Southwest 2010’s tribute to Big Star. Music can lift one up in times of sadness, and Lerche’s aching rendition of “The Ballad of El Goodo” that night, four short days after the passing of Big Star’s lead singer, Alex Chilton, was the perfect salvation for the grieving audience.

His appearance at the 9:30 Club last night was under much more cheerful circumstances, as his sixth record, Sondre Lerche, dropped yesterday. The genuine beauty of the Norwegian singer’s expressive croon kept the audience rapt. “I discovered his music when I was going through a rough time a few years ago,” said one young girl near me last night. “He’s like a friend singing to you, telling you it will all be OK.”

Additional photos from Lerche’s set can be found here.