Liza Day, The Adam Stearns Band, Tom Snowball live at The State Bar in Glasgow
Sometimes I hear voices and sometimes those voices give me good advice for tonight they advised me to proceed with all haste to the State Bar for a what was advertised as an evening of Americana. Nothing is that simple, of course.
Tom Snowball was on first and you would never have guessed from his performance that he was actually from this part of the world. Nonetheless, method acting is as good a way of going as any and his reverential and gently humorous take on the laidback Americana style would have convinced many that he was from the other side of the pond. Curiously, despite his fondness for the laconic, it was his few up-tempo numbers that highlighted his individuality. That and the fixation with animal impersonations.
Stamping his individuality from the start was Adam Stearns. His first song, performed solo, indicated that he was enamoured of English folk singers but, when joined by some serious girl power on keyboards and violin, his music transformed into something akin to adventures in the American popular song format. Making what were quite complex songs appear both simple and satisfying is no small undertaking but that was successfully accomplished here. Reason to be cheerful? Adam Stearns and his band certainly were.
Over from Chicago was Liza Day. Things were rolling along nicely now and Ms Day was in no mood to disturb things. Exuding warmth and confidence, her distinctive and affecting voice left me with no doubt that she could easily escape the acoustic environment into any genre she chose. She was equally comfortable with covers and her own material (from her album "Liza Day and the Northbound Trestle Singers", which is surely worthy of your investigation) and, quite justifiably, was cornered by an appreciative audience into an encore. As everybody knows, Glasgow audiences are the hardest to please in the world so that, in itself, speaks volumes.
I went in expecting songs about dustbowls and came out having heard something else entirely. The voices had been right again.
August 25 2011
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