Saturday, 26 May 2018

GIG REVIEW: Gretchen Peters + Kim Richey - Birmingham Town Hall. Friday 25th May 2018

The immaculate surroundings of Birmingham Town Hall and the music of Gretchen Peters are the perfect fit. A hushed environment absorbed every word from the most meaningful array of songs you are likely to hear in a single set. This was Gretchen Peters in absolute control, cashing in on a lifetime of experience, association and striving to pen the momentous song. The success of the latter set the tone at the outset of a lengthy career, yet growth has been organic and a testimony to an artist pursuing a multitude of avenues in maximising the depth of their talent. The West Midlands, and its outer area, have been kind to Gretchen Peters over the years, whether playing host in Birmingham, Bilston, Bromsgrove or Leamington Spa. This evening saw a return to the grandeur of the city centre Town Hall and the faithful were repaid with another priceless performance.

2018 is the year of DANCING WITH THE BEAST, an album recently unleashed on another fruitful and exciting journey. It is also the year Gretchen has re-enlisted the services of two Northern Irish guitarists in Conor McCreanor and Colm McClean to join her and husband Barry Walsh in re-enacting a winning stage formula of the past. With all the pieces in place, it was just left for a special ninety minutes to evolve inducing shivers, tears, goose bumps and a realisation that happiness can accrue from gorging on sad songs. It was literally a case of ‘you know the drill’ as seventeen imposing songs elaborately enriched the minds of a few hundred willing accomplices.

There were a couple of slight adjustments to this evening’s presentation in comparison to past formulas. Chat appeared to be streamed down alongside sporadic track introduction. The focus was more profoundly on the songs with each composition thriving on the space afforded to let the listener absorb their value. Of course, older songs like ‘On a Bus to St. Cloud’, ‘The Matador’ and ‘Guadalupe’ need no introduction, with the latter still inducing recollection of it being heralded as her and co-writer Tom Russell’s ‘Townes’ moment.

Being a paid up member of the school of thought that Gretchen Peters’ songs mature like a vintage tipple is a sound investment. Title track ‘Blackbirds’ and ‘When All You Got is a Hammer’ from her last album BLACKBIRDS are well on their way to such status as is ‘Idlewild’ from the now six years old record HELLO CRUEL WORLD. However, the emerging jewel in the crown from that period ascended to the pinnacle of a special evening in the form of the spellbinding reflective piece ‘Five Minutes’. This exhibition of succinct and majestically crafted song writing continues to raise the emotive tempo with each listen, rapidly accelerated in pin drop environments like experienced this evening.

The cellophane is barely off the new record, but incisions are starting to be made with a raft of songs implicated tonight as being heavily gender focussed in character assimilation. Unexpectedly and with a barrage of records to be sold, a vast complement of the album made the set list. In line with the album running order, ‘Arguing with Ghosts’ opened the set and ‘Love That Makes a Cup of Tea’ acted as the parting gift. Referring back to the intimated change in formula, the finale saw Gretchen ditch all elements of plugged-in assistance as she used every sonic capability of an acoustic-friendly hall to leave the audience comforted with a slice of rare positivity.

Treat yourself to the album and the early-perceived riches of ‘Wichita’, ‘Truckstop Angel’ and ‘Disappearing Act’ will reveal themselves. ‘Lowlands’ was one of the few songs afforded an impassioned intro as the result of the 2016 US election took hold in her song writing mantra. An inspired quip from the audience at this point suggested the grass is not that much greener over here. ‘The Boy From Rye’ will continue to raise eyebrows when its subject content is increasingly grasped, but the surprise feature on the evening was the impressive performance of ‘Say Grace’.

For this song, opening artist Kim Richey re-entered the stage to join Gretchen on vocals with a substantive effect. Earlier Kim had confirmed her status as a smart choice to play on this tour and re-affirm a long relationship that she has had with UK audiences over a number of years. Similarly to Gretchen, a brand new album was in tow, with tunes like ‘Pin a Rose’, ‘Chase Wild Horses’ and ‘Your Dear John’ providing a solid showcase to what can be expected from the record, titled EDGELAND. Older favourites such as ‘Chinese Boxes’ and ‘Straight as the Crow Flies’ gave folks a timely reminder of why Kim Richey is one of the most respected singer-songwriters operating on the Nashville and wider American folk and country scene. Birmingham fans will not have to wait long until she builds upon this half hour slot in the city, with a planned return for a headline gig at the nearby Kitchen Garden CafĂ© in June.

There was added surprise to the cover Gretchen and Barry selected for the encore. Joining classics from Gram Parsons, John Prine and Rodney Crowell on recent tours, the band turned to the work of Mickey Newberry with a rocking version of ‘Why You Been Gone for So Long’. While this was not quite the evening finale, it did bid farewell to the stellar work of Barry on piano and accordion; Conor on upright and electric bass, and Colm on lead guitar. Gretchen remained steadfastly secure to her acoustic guitar all evening, resisting the temptation to re-unite with the keys. Maybe future shows can see this return alongside some version of the song that first led many folks to her door in the form of the seminal ‘Independence Day’.

The precedence of a new Gretchen Peters album is that the tours quickly follow each other. One summation is to revisit the more ‘audience with’ shows where the songwriter can spend greater time on slicing each song with informative chat. Appreciatively, tonight’s show was designed on maximum song exposure and rightly so to seize the moment. Gretchen’s versatility has been one of her greatest strengths in the two decades that she has crossed the ocean to share her songs in person. Therefore, the end of each show does allow a speculative thought of what next.

The bond between Gretchen Peters and this section of her widening UK fan base strengthened a great deal more on the back of this successful show. Being on board with her work is one of the wisest decisions advocates of significant song writing can make. Whether you joined in 1998, 2008, 2018 or contemplating joining now, a lifetime’s body of incredible material is at your disposal to enjoy. The live format is pretty good as well. 

Review of Dancing with the Beast

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

GIG REVIEW: Simone Felice - Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham. Tuesday 22nd May 2018

A combination of a room swimming with positive vibes and the last night of a successful tour reaped hefty rewards as Simone Felice sent out a timely reminder of his sterling credentials. Freshly equipped with the riches of a new album refusing to cool down, this powerful singer-songwriter from the wilds of New York State made sure that a vibrant atmosphere of mutual love celebrated the mystique of the cultured song.

From a degree of recollection, this was the fourth time in the last few years that Nottingham based promotion Cosmic American had scheduled a Simone Felice show a short hop down the M42 in Birmingham. This return to the Hare and Hounds offered a different perspective to the first of this quartet in 2014 when a band format operated in the venue’s main room. The solo format seems the de facto touring mode recently and a slight downgrade to a re-configured smaller room worked wonders for a packed audience pushing three figures.

Essentially, the love of many of those present stretches way back past these last four years as demonstrated by the rapturous reception reserved for older songs that Simone made famous when in tandem with his brothers over a decade ago. Both ‘Radio Song’ and ‘Don’t Wake the Scarecrow’ featured on The Felice Brothers’ 2008 self-titled album and show no sign of losing their sheen in a live setting. The request shouted out for the latter was hardly required, while the story shared of the former from a recent Dublin gig showed little remorse to those lacking a little decorum at a Simone Felice show.

A recurring theme of the evening linked the notion of covering Dylan with the phrase ‘I’ve got my own songs’. These he certainly has and no time was wasted in sharing the treasures of the new record. Opening with the title track from ‘The Projector’, set the scene perfectly for an evening of distinctive song. In fact, you have to do a lot of searching to find a more defining song to start an album in a long time. Elsewhere this record was represented by impressive numbers such as ‘The Fawn’, ‘Hustler’ and a moment of diversity where the guitar was temporarily put down and Simone Felice – the poetry orator, took over. ‘They Hang Upon Upon My Every Word’ was beautifully read out with a strategic prompt being the inner gatefold sleeve of the vinyl version displaying the words. The poet in Simone Felice is not difficult to detect even when not as explicitly presented as this moment.

Older favourites like ‘New York Times’, ‘Union Street’, ‘If You Ever Get Famous’ and ‘Summer Morning Rain’ turned themselves into four-minute gift wrapped packages. Most had a story linked as the inter song chat flitted between the enlightening and the irreverent. Aside from the song delivery and chat, the idiosyncratic mannerisms still define the stage persona of Simone Felice. These range from a steely stare to the humble bow.

The pinnacle of the evening was a communal rendition of the now-secure Simone Felice hometown classic ‘Bye Bye Palenville’. First New York City, then a wider world may have eventually become his canvas, but a little hamlet in the Catskill Mountains has been forever immortalised to symbolise where a heart lies. This surprisingly was the only track lifted from the superb STRANGERS album, but if you are limiting the choice to just one, the best may as well prevail.

A couple of tours ago Simone invited Irish singer-songwriter Anna Mitchell to open for him on a run of British dates. This time it was a Nottingham based artist going by the name Keto who had the opportunity to play a few tunes in support. Her style cornered the moody indie angle with the electric guitar getting a few notches turned up to match a voice built to rise above the parapet.

A sharp sound produced from the Gretsch guitar gave the main set an added boost and an air of contentment resounded when the time came for fans to reflect and merchandise to be sold. This being the last show of the tour, stocks were dwindling, but if precedence is anything to go he will be back. Simone Felice climbs the influential ladder each time seen, although serious devotees will scream that he scaled the heights ages ago. Without splitting hairs, what you get is a dominant performance from a singer-songwriter in tune with conjuring up some magical lyrical expressions, observations and poetic verse. Birmingham was under his spell this evening.

Saturday, 19 May 2018

GIG REVIEW: Micah Schnabel - Katie Fitzgerald's, Stourbridge. Friday 18th May 2018

When an American beat poet from Columbus Ohio passes through your hometown, it is rude and remiss not to lend them an ear. Even when scheduled to play past eleven o’clock in the cellar bar of the town’s quirky left field pub, an itch that something compulsive would surface gnawed away. In an ideal world, forty minutes of Micah Schnabel just gets you into the mood and lays the foundation for a greater serving of sparky folk punk poetry delivered from the sharpest of minds and a beat up guitar clad with the slogan ‘art or die’. This performance binned every media fuelled notion of Americana and took the term back to its rawest form.

Micah Schnabel is best known as the front person for indie band Two Cow Garage, but his solo work is bubbling under the surface waiting for that breakout moment when the masses hang onto every word spun out. This current short run of UK dates, the first as a solo artist, has spawned from an invite to play a Frank Turner bash in London, and includes a display of artwork from his travelling companion Vanessa Jean Speckman. The main creative artefacts drawn from are the latest album YOUR NORMAN ROCKWELL and the sentiment from a brand new published novel titled ‘Hello, My Name is Henry’. New songs such as the explicit ‘I Don’t Want to Die in a Nuclear War’ and the more subtle ‘The Teenage Years of the 21st Century’ also joined the fray as not a single second of the forty minutes stage time was wasted.

Buy the Book
In a passionate haze of Kerouac meets Strummer, Schnabel smashes the concrete floor to find material that others dare to touch and thus reveal an underside of reality that is stark, frank and poetically expressed. Hanging onto every word sung/spoken was far from an ordeal as a mesmeric hook coated each composition shared. One memorable line after another tossed into the air as a grim view of society was explored in ‘Cash 4 Gold’, the character from the novel introduced in ‘Hello, My Name is Henry’ and the joy of re-connecting with music resonated in ‘Jazz & Cinnamon Toast Crunch’. If you ever have songwriter’s block try asking yourself questions as Schnabel did in ‘The Interview’ and don’t even try to visualise juggling a chainsaw in ‘Oh What a Bummer’.

Away from the solo material, a song farmed from the Two Cow Garage catalogue in ‘Shakespeare and Walt Disney’ performed a fully-fledged assault on the concept of conforming love. ‘More Drugs’ left little to the imagination and the title track to the latest album ‘Your Norman Rockwell’ whets the appetite to delve deeper into a record achieving more than just pricking your ears.

Yes this was a quirky evening, but one locked into the memory chamber and creating a desire for more. The book bought, and a quick chat with an artist just as keen to learn about your environment, outlook and influences as talk about theirs. There is a market for Micah Schnabel in the UK with a little push and a touch of fortune. Letting him unravel his intuitive mind in a blast of poetic rock ‘n’ roll is not a bad place to be, even when the hour gets late.

Thursday, 17 May 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Gretchen Peters - Dancing With the Beast : Proper Records

The legacy may lie in the songs hooked up by country music in the 1990s or in a trio of dominant albums blossoming in the 2010s. Maybe though, the legacy is still to come such is the trajectory in the quality of output from Gretchen Peters. The most important thing about a new release is that it is just the start of a cycle. In essence, DANCING WITH THE BEAST will be effectively born on May 18th, with several years of burgeoning appreciation set to follow.

While the discography stretches back twenty plus years, the cycle of slow growth began with 2012’s HELLO CRUEL WORLD, which reached full bloom here a couple of years later. That is symptomatic of a Gretchen Peters record, it is not designed for the ‘here today; gone tomorrow’ society. There is stamina, staying power and subtle variances that await discovery. The case for reviewing her albums twelve or twenty four months down the line is compelling. At these points, different perspectives are certain to exist rather than cobbling together something definitive on release day. However, getting your ears wrapped around this record as soon as the traps lift is still the only place to be. In effect, start your voyage of discovery from day one.

Fans of Gretchen Peters will know what they are getting from the new record. This is confirmed. First impressions (ok plays running into double figures) see the stars of song writing, production and thematic perception perfectly aligned as the eleven songs blend into the spirit of an explorative entity. Whether in character narration mode or digging deep into personal feelings, the impact slices with a cutting edge. One hopes that the lines between the two states are less than blurred such is the dark overtures that drape over a number of the tracks. The strength of any album lies within the pull of wanting to unravel the layers and ultimately search for your own meanings and interpretations. DANCING WITH THE BEAST exchanges the baton of ownership once landing on the ears of the listener.

Questions spill out of track after track, with the only desire of conjuring up the answers yourself. Is the central character of ‘Wichita’ irrational or in control? Was there an audience member in ‘The Show’ waiting for that performance of a lifetime? Can the final ‘Disappearing Act’ be averted?

In these times where many outlets give the artist an extended voice, it can be devilish to summon up your own interpretations. The Gulf of Mexico in ‘Lay Low’ can re-invent into any place of personal sanctuary, while the simplicity of ‘Love That Makes a Cup of Tea’ is a message to us all to steer clear of complications, an exception though when it comes to splitting hairs in the process of feasting on quality lyrics.

Of course, once all the tracks are let out of the bag some gallop ahead. ‘Truckstop Angel’ sees Gretchen at her narrative starkest as no stone is left unturned in the search of those often denied a voice. This theme erupts in ‘The Boy From Rye’, definitely a song from 2018 not 1998. Where ‘Say Grace’ and ‘Arguing with Ghosts’ eventually end up is anybody’s guess, but being there when the key is found is worth the wait. ‘Lowlands’ is a place that we all probably know and the one instance on the record where you could have predicted the route, assuming the subject of the ‘bumper sticker’is…

The key to DANCING WITH THE BEAST is now in your possession. It would be unwise to let this record pass as the year rolls along. Happy listening if it you have got the right state of mind. There is lightness in the dark and a touch of shade when it gets too bright. Gretchen Peters is on top form and a truly great songwriter. Finally, who or what is the beast? Answers only required within your mind.

ALBUM REVIEW: Michael McDermott - Out From Under : Pauper Sky Music

Wherever your personal preferences lie, few records can be as hard-hitting and profoundly impactful as the new album from Michael McDermott. Like an unleashed creative force, this Chicago-based artist rips through the tough singer-songwriter landscape with an abundance of folk rock infused lyrical essays as he ultimately comes to terms to a life in some remnant of control. Burying yourself into the avalanche of OUT FROM UNDER rewards the brave and provides credence to the proverb ‘no pain no gain’. Faint-hearted fantasists may need a warning, but immersion in this record toughens the mind and clears the passage for powerful song writing to etch a distinctive mark. It helps that a voice as rugged as the stories told pours gut drenched emotion into each song. A sense of liberation flows from artisan to partisan as these eleven solo-composed tunes take hold.

Although Michael has been an active performer and writer for many years, it is mainly through his work as half of The Westies duo, and the last solo release WILLOW SPRINGS, when the focus has moved onto an international stage. From a personal perspective, an impassioned live performance rammed home the magnitude of what this artist is capable of and thus created a relished anticipation for the next chapter.

The breathless journey begins on ‘Cal-Sag Road’, a destination stained with a gruesome song drift climax and a stark reminder of demons continually recalled in ‘we’re getting drunk again’. As the tempo picks up, so does the intensity of the songs, from the rootsy and repetitive ‘Gotta Go to Work’ to the deep digging rocker ‘Knocked Down’, which our architect ‘knows a thing or two about’. The opening quartet ends still in rocking mode and a roam around some stark reminders of why ‘Sad Songs’ reign supreme, even if tiredness takes root.

The production fluctuates between heavy and sparse mode allowing a fiery Celtic spirit to force the pace. A full-on demeanour grinds out a deluge of passionate storytelling, and a lyrical content making compulsive reading in tandem with the hooked in listening. Among the gruffness, periodic bouts of soul do seep out to add another dimension to the music of Michael McDermott.

Back to the tracks and ‘This World Will Break Your Heart’ is full of characters burdened with tragic tales. Up to now, an up tempo beat has juxtaposed with the gritty content, and the sound slips further into a lighter direction with the title track ‘Out From Under’ at the heart of the record. All of a sudden, blatant optimism breaks out in the strident positivity of ‘Celtic Sea’ and blessed sentiment resonating in ‘Rubber Band Ring’. The latter is a big-hearted retro soulful pop piece, surprising in inclusion, but belt out with the most sincere of meaning.

Never Going Down Again’ resumes the rocking theme in an absolute bout of feisty defiance before the perplexing lyric-laden ‘Sideways’ takes control in the penultimate slot. Interestingly, the demons re-surface as an untimely reminder, along with a reference to Stephen King, who is an unlikely advocate of Michael’s work as a songwriter. As closing track ‘God Help Us’ ends, the listener is left exhausted though fully rewarded. At this point, a focused state of mind will have played a major part, but you will become a fully paid up member of the Michael McDermott appreciation society, a growing band of enlightened followers.

The backstory to Michael McDermott undeniably plays a part in his music, especially in 2018 where a state of placidity and gratefulness fuels the process. OUT FROM UNDER is an absorbing record which when fully digested in context adds weight to the lofty credentials of a songwriter soaring in a trajectory towards the peak of their powers. A must for any lyrical junkie and fully equipped with an accessible soundtrack to boot.

ALBUM REVIEW: Kashena Sampson - Wild Heart : New Moon Records

If this is to be the breakthrough moment for Kashena Sampson then there will be few complaints from many music lovers taking a chance on a new artist. Doors may be opening and helping hands offered, but success ultimately lies in the strength of the product and its ability to make an impact. WILD HEART is perfectly at ease with any slice of actuated hype and is happy to fight its corner in the evolving world of country and Americana music. Fundamentally, this album oozes a classic country sound from each pore and groove. An open door policy to embrace soulful influences boosts the mix, while resistance qualities ensure any impurity attack is repelled from taking hold. The energy, integrity and intensity of the architect rinses through each of the ten tracks, all but one being an original composition.

Not surprisingly, East Nashville is the base where Kashena operates from and the fusion elements of the record spin it on an Americana axis. Fortune sees it get a European focus in the summer of 2018 and it is set to resonate well with a new fan base. The extent to what importance you place on the backstory is down to the individual listener, but a brief insight here squares the circle of an artist pouring every sinew of vocal extraction into a record reverberating with a voice of prime passion. Not quite last chance saloon, but a blessed opportunity seized with great gusto and seismic determination.

Three tracks spearhead this album, though the remainder are far from distant trailers. ‘Greasy Spoon’ is country to the core. It is likely to be autobiographical and explicitly reminiscent of a well-trodden road to stardom, one realistic in its obscurity. Preceding this track in the running order is the fabulously moving ‘It’s a Long Way Back’ where Kashena takes the concept of ‘sing as you mean it’ to its literal conclusion. From the early chimes of ‘this valley I’ve been in’, an air of redemption blasts in and the soulful swirl of country swamps the senses. ‘That Don’t Sit Too Well With Me’ completes the lofty trio with its beat ‘n’ groove tendencies stomping over ground inhabited by a generational lineage from Margo Price to Loretta Lynn.

A previous mention of a solitary non-original reveals as the traditional number ‘Motherless Child’, dating back to slavery times and full of spiritual vigour. Kashena’s version sees her vocal chops emotively exerted and a no mean demonstration of how to deliver a folk song. Bringing the sound back into the realms of modernish times is a dip into the lush countrypolitan vibes of ‘Hold Me Close’. Meanwhile the soul and blues influence never completely falls away as exemplified in ‘Never Give Up’.

At the outset of the record, faint shimmering organ and a decent introductory hook greets the listener in ‘Away From Here’. Title track ‘Wild Heart’ nestles at the core of the album with its waltz-like presence housing the cutting and defining line ‘it’s a fragile state I’m in’. As if to cement an extraordinary vocal domination on the record, ‘She Shines’ experiences a voice explosion mid song after a fairly placid opening. A desire to get the record ultimately sealed falls a little short in closing track ‘Come Back to Me’, despite a willing credit built up in its nine predecessors.

From a backstory laced with sobriety, dreams and a fiercely independent spirit, you know that every inch of space is fought for and this overflows from multiple listens to WILD HEART. Kashena Sampson redefines the term ownership right across this album, even to the extent of releasing it on her own label. This fine exhibition of classic soulful country meets rootsy folk rock carves a significant mark on a landscape still open for artists possessing that much sought after country voice for the modern times.

GIG REVIEW: Mary Gauthier - Glee Club, Nottingham. Wednesday 16th May 2018

In her evolving seasonal classic ‘Christmas in Paradise’, Mary Gauthier drew on the concept of not judging the afflicted, just dealing with the here and now. This philosophy extends to her involvement in the Song Writing with Soldiers project, which is the theme of her new album and centrepiece of a current tour of the UK. This record has been in circulation since the turn of the year, but the presentation of its ethos, emotion and heart-wrenching content in a hushed room dismantles any prefaced assimilation of what it means to all concerned. This Nottingham Glee Club show may have included a mix of old favourites; the introduction of a virtuoso violin/viola accompaniment by Italian musician Michele Gazich and the most inclusive of uplifting finales, but casting a defining shadow across the night were five compulsive stories and the songs born from each painful situation.

Any Mary Gauthier show brims with idiosyncratic and quirky tendencies that lure the audience into a state of total admiration. Hanging onto each number and story takes you into the perceptive world of an artist enriched by the salvation of song. These traits never fail to materialise when she comes to town and fully embedded into versions of ‘Mercy Now’, ‘Last of the Hobo Kings’ and ‘Another Train’. There was a strong case that these much-loved songs were probably eclipsed in the back catalogue segment of the show by the deep-rooted calling song ‘Oh Soul’. This judgement may be clouded by listening to the same song just twenty-four hours earlier when impassionedly sung by Ben Glover, Mary’s co-writer on the song.

Before returning to the crux of the evening, it is imperative to mention the finale choice of ‘This Land is Your Land’. This version slipped it into the sad song territory of its origins and one that required little persuasion for the audience to vociferously tap into its spirit and inclusive meaning.

The domination of song writing with soldiers may have originally cast a dark shadow of war’s untold stories across a locked-in audience, but rays of light periodically burst through as the therapy of song took hold. ‘Rifles and Rosary Beads’, ‘Bullet Holes in the Sky’, ‘Still on the Ride’, ‘Stronger Together’ and ‘It’s Her Love’ had their soul ripped apart in the introduction, before each song began the healing process. Tales of trauma, pain, suicide, despair and regret ravaged the room, requiring a steely demeanour not to be moved. War was abhorred, politicians slammed and judgement withheld, alongside an intuitive insight in how song can unpick the past and lay a foundation of hope. Time froze throughout the period Mary shared her experience of participating in this process. The gig may have lasted around an hour and forty minutes, but this segment eroded any concept of time.

There was always the background conundrum of an avid anti-war protestor choosing the plight of the veteran to activate the song writing process when many other facets of untold stories are yearning for a voice. Regardless of circumstance, Mary was visibly touched by immersing herself into this project and a contagious wave of empathy swamped a room of willing accomplices. This powerful piece of singer-songwriter theatre proved all-consuming and unleashed the infinite potential of where song can take you. The fervent anti-war protestor, and thorn in the side of the perpetrators, still exists alongside a purveyor of focussing on the humanist angle of a tragic state of affairs.

Listen to RIFLE AND ROSARY BEADS, read all the background stuff and most of all if Mary Gauthier passes through your town join the congregation. Third party words barely scratch the surface. Replicating the experience of exposure to an articulate advocate and exceptional songwriter really only appeases the author. Memories are made at a Mary Gauthier show; perceptions are formed and definitive evenings of entering the world of the deep connective singer-songwriter leave that most satisfying of mark.