Anna, who hails from Cork, had the honour of appearing on stage throughout the duration of the show courtesy of opening the evening with a few of her own songs before proceeding to accompanying Simone for the main set. Granted time for around half a dozen numbers, Anna wasted little time in steering the audience towards her cultured piano playing providing the backdrop to her cross genre songs. There is a heavily leaning Americana stance to Anna’s delivery of folk-styled songs. This was highlighted in the title of her first song ‘Tennessee’, and she later drifted more into country territory with a quarter pace cover version of the ever popular ‘Jolene’. Putting genre aside for a moment, Anne is, no more – no less, the model singer-songwriter who undoubtedly gets her inspiration and influence from the right sources. Apart from a new song, titled ‘Radio Waves’ and based on chasing that elusive hit, the rest of Anna’s set came from her highly praised debut record DOWN TO THE BONE with perhaps the highlight being ‘When My Ship Comes In’.
Simone Felice has a strong following in Birmingham, appearing twice in the city at alternative venues last year. Those dates were in support of his brilliant album STRANGERS which was a deserved entrant in many Top Album lists of 2014. Three excellent songs from that release continued to impress during this intimate show with barely a hair splitting the audience effect of listening to ‘If You Go To LA’, Bye Bye Palenville’ and ‘The Gallows’. Having only caught Simone’s band show last year, it was a delight to see his material transcend without blemish to a solo delivery via just acoustic guitar. Simone’s voice nourished the songs and his almost contorted stage presence gives them a motioned soulful gloss. He mixes a touch eccentricity with bags of humble appreciation to earn a standing ovation at the end of his pre-encore set.
Simone’s current UK tour is in support of a new live double album recorded in the iconic village of Woodstock, located in his home state of New York. It was this project which helped cement the collaboration with Anna, a match up that has been extended to tours either side of the pond. Anna almost had a steadying influence on Simone and flitted between harmonium, piano and tambourine to support his songs, not forgetting exquisite harmony backing vocals. The mutual gratitude of this liaison radiated from both performers and the balancing of Anna’s smooth Celtic influence etched itself on Simone’s exalted poetic appeal. Any move in the aftermath to double bill this show can start right here with ultimately Simone Felice and Anna Mitchell combining for a splendid evening of entertainment.