The diverse assortment ranges from the girlish joy and toy-piano percussion of "The Constant Friend," on Braun's largely acoustic solo record, to the clanging punkabilly romp of "Hot Dog!" a throbbing showcase for John Armstrong's bass, on the electrified DQE disc. Standouts include "Fire Engine Blue," the blazing "Rock On" and "Too Late to Love Me," a hiccupping Wanda Jackson-style country stomper.
The sprawling set isn't without missteps. The strangest is Braun's attempt to sing Robert Frost's "The Road Less Traveled." Despite a fitting musical arrangement (with the Rock*A*Teens' Justin Hughes contributing beautiful electric piano accents), Braun is miscast. Her child-like quaver and adventurous melody stray too far from the rigid, traditional structure of this American classic.
On firmer ground is the heart-wrenching a cappella reading of the Carter Family's "The Wandering Boy," a selection closer to Braun's rural Kentucky folk/gospel roots. And she's comfortably within her range on "Could This Be the Moment?" a touching love song dedicated to drummer/partner Dugan Trodglen.
DQE plays the Star Bar Sat., Nov. 23.