After a two-year absence from the stage, British singer/songwriter Beth Orton wrapped a brief acoustic run last night (Mar. 31) at New York's Hiro Ballroom.

After a two-year absence from the stage, British singer/songwriter Beth Orton wrapped a brief acoustic run last night (Mar. 31) at New York's Hiro Ballroom. Other stops included San Francisco, Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

Sipping tea in between songs, Orton featured mostly material from 2006's "Comfort of Strangers," including a harmonica-tinged "Absinthe" and an upbeat "Rectify," with the artist whistling along playfully towards the end.

She sporadically dipped into her back catalog for tunes such as "She Cries Your Name" and a slowed down, haunting version of "Paris Train."

Orton explained her time off was due to her pregnancy, but was very comfortable onstage, joking with the crowd in between songs. Only "A Place Aside" needed three different takes, with the first two yielding pitch problems she wasn't pleased with. "You don't understand -- I've been breast-feeding," she quipped.

Although her pregnancy has kept her out of the studio, Orton is working on a new album, expected sometime next year.

Here is Beth Orton's set list:

"Heartland Truckstop"
"Absinthe"
"Someone's Daughter"
"Comfort of Strangers"
"Shadow of a Doubt"
"Rectify"
"Safe In My Arms"
"Conceived"
"Worms"
"Paris Train"
"Heart of Soul"
"Pieces of Sky"
"She Cries Your Name"
"Katie Cruel"

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