Originally created 04/24/98

Songwriter takes advice to heart



Her latest album sounds very much like the smooth, bluesy stylings that have lifted Bonnie Raitt up the pop charts -- and she has been around just about as long.

Maria Muldaur, who scored a major hit with Midnight at the Oasis in 1974, is touring in support of a new album and will perform at the Word of Mouth Cafe on Wednesday.

Southland of the Heart was released Jan. 27, and the tour began April 2 in Burlington, Iowa.It may be no coincidence that several of the album's tracks are reminiscent of Ms. Raitt's latter-day material.

Ms. Muldaur, 54, reportedly sought Ms. Raitt's advice in choosing a direction.

"She said 'Maria, just start looking for good tunes that really move you, and when you come up with your 12 favorite songs, let that be the direction of your album," she said.The title track was penned by Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, who had a hit single If I Had a Rocket Launcher in the mid-'80s.

"I immediately fell madly in love with the song Southland of the Heart," said the sultry singer. "And even before I picked all the songs, I knew that would be the title (track)."

Since her self-titled debut album, which included Midnight at the Oasis, she has released 15 albums, and she performs live about 200 times a year.

"I'm just a hard-workin' babe out there on the road," Ms. Muldaur recently told the Marin (Calif.) Independent Journal.

Performance

What: Maria Muldaur

When: 9 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Word of Mouth Cafe, 724 Broad St.

How much: $12

Phone: 722-3477