Live Review : Jane Bartholomew at The Basement 6/12/11

This was going to be a review of what was pretty much unanimously gig of the week in the local press – Meg Baird at The Basement last Tuesday. The focus wasn’t going to be Meg Baird – she’s an American folk singer – but the support, local singer songwriter Jane Bartholomew. I’d been given a heads up about the gig by Jon, who’s written a few posts for the blog, who told me it was going to be a good gig, but I hadn’t heard of Jane before the night.

And it was an amazing gig. I don’t really have the vocabulary to fully describe it – not being that into folk, I can’t make the meaningful comparisons with other artists and sub genres which would tell you that much about it, and my enthusiasm about the gig won’t make things much clearer either.

What I can tell you though is that the gig was exactly why I started the blog. I know quite a few local bands, but what I also know is that there’s some serious talent around town which deserves to be heard but so often goes unrecognised, which I want to find out about and shine a light on. For me, it’s all about the discovery of these artists, the pride that we live somewhere that generates such creativity, and the ongoing support.

So I guess I should write a bit about Jane Bartholomew, and the gig. Jane makes quirky, magical folk music, which was ideally suited to the small intimate environment of The Basement. Most of the time she played alone on the guitar or autoharp, but on some songs she was joined on accordion and violin, and on a couple of songs, the vibraphone. However, whatever the instrumentation, it’s Jane’s voice that really captivates. It’s almost childlike and brings something rather special to her songs. Musically, everything seems so accomplished and rich – far more than I would expect from a support band. It was all so good that at the end of the show, I bought the cd and it hasn’t left my stereo since. And I guess Meg Baird was pretty good too (she was fantastic), but she’s not from Brighton, and I know that there’s been plenty of other reviews written which will say how great the gig was and how ably she coped at the end of the gig when one of her strings broke.

You can buy Jane Bartholomew’s album on her website here.

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