An exquisite and awesome evening of music, traditional folk to live mixing, came to Cafe Kino last night (Friday 14th November) as part of the south west leg of the Jess Hall Bookshelves tour, supported by Duotone and Bristol based Jackson Hill.
Jess Hall is a singer/songwriter who plays the guitar and was accompanied by Barney Morse-Brown of Duotone. As regular readers of my blog will know, I am not knowledgeable enough on music to be able to draw comparisons with her work. What I can say is that she is an incredible story teller and her voice can inspire non-existent memories. A particular favourite was I Will Give My Love an Apple – an old Folk song which she has covered on her debut album. This is an a cappella version, and really showcases the control and purity of her voice. If I could have a soundtrack to my life, it would be something along the lines of the music Hall makes.
Other people mentioned she has echoes of Lisa Hannigan, but having now listened to Hannigan there is still no direct comparison. Hall certainly has her own sound.
Before Jess Hall, came Barney Morse-Brown of Duotone. A hard act to describe: he constructs a sort of symphony and then either with cello, guitars, or his voice plucks out a harmonised tune. He layers the different string instruments, and uses a loop pedal… or possibly 2 loopers and electric drum kit from what I could see as an inexperienced on-looker. For a person to create songs, each with such a different sound, but an overall style truly his own, is really incredible.
I could hear influences from British and European folk music. I felt weak in the presence of such skill and mastery.
The first act of the night was Jackson Hill, a Bristol based band usually consisting of four musicians. I have written about them previously, as this is the third time I have had the pleasure of seeing them. Originally Jackson Hill started as a duo, without their Double Bassist and Fiddle player, and it was in this state that they appeared. Actually, considering the intimacy of the venue, the subdued vibe of just the two founders sitting on stools really worked well. Having heard most, or possibly all, the songs previously they felt a little slower. The couple were really enjoying playing the songs and taking their time sharing the experience with the audience.
All three acts were so different, yet really worked so well together as an evening of live performance. It was just what I wanted on a dreary November evening. Jess Hall continues her Bookshelves tour with a couple more UK locations, promoting her debut album. Duotone will be back in Bristol playing at The Gallimaufry on Gloucester Road 3rd December and are releasing another album Let’s Get Low which is available to pre-order (highly recommended!). And look out for Jackson Hill, I am sure they will be playing again in a Bristol venue very soon!