Captivated by the Jess Vincent trio
Published on: 26 Nov 2014
When Downend Folk Club announced their Autumn/Winter Programme for 2014, it was full of stars. Jim Moray, India Electric Company, local-lass Jennifer Crook, Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar… and Jess Vincent.
Wait… Jess Vincent? Who’s she?
But in a star-studded line-up of gigs, Jess proved last week that she was far from out-of-place… in fact, many regulars proclaimed the event one of the best yet.
After an impressive set of quartet harmony singing from Cadbury Heath-based acapella group Black Sheep Harmony, Jess took to the stage with her trio, including guitarist Marcel Rose and folk-circuit legend Reg Meuross, and she soon had the sell-out crowd at Frenchay Village Hall well and truly under her captivating spell.
Performing mostly self-penned songs, the Wiltshire-based songstress showed just why she’s tipped for big things. Her voice, often likened to Kate Bush but unmistakably Jess Vincent once you’ve heard her, soared with stunning melodies, and was beautifully complemented by Reg Meuross’ gentle harmonies and the stunning skilfulness and dexterous musicianship of Reg and Marcel Rose.
Annie Bonnie, Jess told the audience, was her attempt to write a “proper” folk-song. As the crowd fell silent to hear the tale of a slaughtered sailor (and what’s more “folk” than death and sailors?) it was clear that Jess’ songwriting is every bit as strong as her distinctive delivery.
Jess’ story-telling, taking in tales of caravan sessions with semi-inebriated Australians and ego-inflated festival hosts, proved once again that humour is a key part of folk club performances, while Reg’s song “It’s Elvis or Me” had the audience singing and tapping along merrily.
But the “hairs on the back of the neck” moment came with a song jointly written by Jess and Reg, “Lovesick Johnny”. The audience sat back in awe as the trio combined to deliver a true masterpiece. You really could hear a pin drop. Stunning.
Downend Folk Club will bring you the big names, but is also a club that will book up-and-coming, fresh, innovative artists, regardless of their profile. Every month, they deliver top-quality music and an atmosphere to match. Jess herself summed it up perfectly: “I love this club!”
Next at Downend Folk Club –
Friday December 19, Christ Church, Downend
December’s event will be a special one, as Downend Folk Club welcomes their patron Jim Moray as the headline guest.
Bristol-based Jim is one of the most consistently inventive musicians working in English traditional music today. Winner of five BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, after five ground-breaking albums he now finds himself at the forefront of a new folk revival in the UK, and hailed as a pivotal influence by a new generation of folk musicians.
Last year, Jim celebrated both 10 years since his landmark debut album Sweet England and the success of his 2012 career best Skulk. Now he brings material from his forthcoming album of traditional ballads out on the road for an evening of storytelling music at its best.
Jim has been busy with his new folk-rock band False Lights, so his appearance at Downend Folk Club is a rare opportunity to see Jim solo, at his stripped-back best.
Downend Folk Club’s chairman, Ant Miles, said: “Jim is amongst the top folk musicians on the scene at the moment, so we’re thrilled to welcome him for our December event. He is based in Bristol, and of course he is our patron, so all things considered it should be a great evening. Anyone that has heard and seen Jim live will pay testament to how very, very good he is. I know Jim is very much looking forward to the gig… and I am too!”
Opening the evening will be Katherine Priddy.
Katherine describes herself as a dream weaver, a hypnotic storyteller and fragile performer who encapsulates the rich and often solemn side of artists gone by such as Nick Drake and John Martyn, delivering each word with a genuine warmth and charm.
Tickets for the event, which will be held on Friday 19th December at Christ Church Downend, are on sale now from Baguette Me Not or online from www.downendfolkclub.co.uk and Bristol Ticket Shop.