Irish singer/songwriter Foy Vance played to a rapt audience Aug. 22. He showed how his voice could stretch and fill space on “You and I,” a song that features Bonnie Raitt on his recently released album, Joy of Nothing. He created ghostly guitar noise using a bow and copious reverb on the outset of that album’s title track to breathtaking effect, while his high-end, slightly raspy voice sent shivers during the chorus. He paused every so often to chat with the audience, asking questions like, “Is the plural of synopsis ‘synopsises’?” [My inner grammar geek was screaming “SYNOPSES!!!”] He sat and played piano for his Elton John moment on single “Closed Hands, Full of Friends,” saying the song was the catalyst for writing the album. Before performing album closer “Guiding Light,” he made it seem as though Ed Sheeran was about to come out and perform with him as he does on the album, sending the girls in the audience into a tizzy before revealing it was a joke. Even without Sheeran, “Guided Light” started a sing-and-clap-along that got virtually everyone there involved — a little girl in front of me adorably clapped and dance to her own beat. It was a sweet moment that showed what makes Vance so special to his dedicated following, who seemed to hang on his every word. See and download photos from the show here.
In recently trying to fill in a friend on what I'd spent the last year or two listening to, I realized that my personal taste tends to gravitate towards some element of either Folk form (any hint of hill-folk finger-pickin' or Ozark/Appalachian melancholy and I'm in), Psychedelia or the tendency to extend a theme for a good long jam (a category in which I include a lot of the Jazz that I like), or just a great, funky groove.
With those qualifiers in place, the following is a year by year review of the last decade which somehow got past me with out noticing it. I mean, really?!! 2010?!!! I didn't see it coming:
2000: Album of the Year
Air's enjoyable and wacky Moon Safari had been on the decks for a couple years before they contracted for the soundtrack to Sofia Coppolla's Virgin Suicides. The resultant score is absolutely sublime and marked the French electronauts as contenders to watch.
For myself, it was the defining sound of the millennium's new year.
Shelby Lynne released a killer country-soul gem, I Am Shelby Lynne, that echoed early material from the likes of Bonnie Raitt. Thinking that it was a brilliant debut from a talented 32yo unknown, I was eventually shocked to find that it was her 6th album. I listened to it for months.