Live Reviews

  Katy Moffatt live at The Old Library in KIlbarchan

A disused library in rural Kilbarchan could hardly have been, as it transpired, a more fitting venue for folk music's most overlooked chanteuse. Katy Moffatt, Texas-born but now based in California, carries modestly some thirty years of experience, which includes ongoing work with such recognized American folkers as Tom Russell, Andrew Hardin, Dave Alvin, Rosie Flores, and her brother Hugh Moffatt.

Tonight's show was to be an intimate affair, with the capacity crowd - all fifty-nine of them - perhaps unsure as to what to expect from the red-haired Texan who would soon be performing for them. So when the svelte figure of Ms. Moffatt climbed past the close-knit tables, to the front of the room, it was no surprise that you could hear the distant voices of the wind outside howling in anticipation.

Katy had them from the first note, telling tales of lost love, lost lives, and prejudice, with just her guitar for company. On "Texas Rangers", guitar wasn't even needed. However well Katy performs slow, heart-worn ballads, she fares just as well performing with passionate rage. The audience hear the dark side of her Martin, and just for the moment, AC/DC don't sound so tough. Katy becomes Sojourner Truth - abolitionist, icon - and cries "Where'd you get your Christ?" with the sort of passion that starts fires. As the only member of the crowd who had seen her previously, I was able to proffer a request - "Sparrow of Swansea" - which Katy gladly performed.

Katy didn't refrain from talking to her audience, who hung on her every gently-spoken word. There was a steady increase in the volume of the applause, with Katy winning people over by the minute. To some this would have been a history lesson. From romanticising the torrid romance of Hank and Audrey Williams to visiting the life of Dylan Thomas, Katy showed an incredible depth to her songwriting. If one person had left that night without being overwhelmed by the pulchritude of her words and the sincerity of her voice soaring high above the gentle picking of the strings, then they're probably not human.

Katy took the time after the show to talk to everyone. As pretty as the Old Library is, it is perhaps unjust that Katy is, after 30 years, playing to such small crowds. I began to realize how lucky I had been and was suddenly reminded of the hopelessness of the modern music industry. The injustice of it all. Treat your ears and listen to Katy Moffatt.

Review Date: May 15 2007