Tristan Prettyman, Columbus, OH, Newport Music Hall, November 4, 2004
There are a few assumptions that can be made about Tristan Prettyman when just reading her bio on the website. One is that being from the San Diego-area, she must be a pretty laid-back, surfer-type who will play music much along the same lines as fellow acoustic artist Jack Johnson. And two is that she must really be egotistical to turn down a major record deal after only a few years of live playing. Well, one out of two ain't bad.

Prettyman is anything but chocked-full-of-ego as she comes out modestly on stage, straps on her brand new Taylor guitar and then proceeds to talk about the blood smatterings it accumulates over the course of the 40-minute set. In fact, after about 25 minutes, Prettyman tries to stop after her normal 30-minute set time and has the stage manager tell her she still has another 15-20 minutes left to play. In those extra minutes, Prettyman takes requests and plays as if those extra minutes are a gift from the music Gods and she treasures them as one would a time with a newborn.

After opening for acts such as G. Love & Special Sauce and Jason Mraz, it is easy to see how easily those fans can accept her. Prettyman is as talented as she is spontaneous and when she broke into the acoustic remake of Britney Spear’s Toxic, she can somehow make it sound a bit more dirty and sexy than the original performer.

Named 2004 San Diego Acoustic Performer of the Year, Prettyman is able to be a surfer-simple musician and a bit of flirty beach bum at the same time. Hearing Prettyman in the enclosed Newport Music Hall, one could easily imagine sitting around a bonfire on the beach, with an import beer in one hand and hopefully a significant other in the other. Her voice moves through the venue like an ocean breeze and her guitar soothes like a proper sunset over the Pacific. Prettyman played the perfect opener for Howie Day and just about everyone in attendance were won over by her girlish charm and West Coast sound. I think she even had more than a few guys from major crushes in a mere 40 minutes, and probably a few girls as well.

In any case, Prettyman was everything one could expect, and probably even more. But let’s hope for two things to come out of the evening: One is that her fingers heal enough to play the next show and the blood is cleaned from her Taylor, and second is that by her covering Toxic, her brother can finally meet Mrs. Spears and convince her to leave her hubby and have a whirlwind romance with him. But much like those earlier assumptions, I think one out of two ain’t bad.