Sunday, 28 September 2014

Songwriter's Cafe 2014

Paul Murphy's Songwriter's Cafe has returned this year after a break in 2013. I went along on Thursday and if it is possible it's better than ever. The performance space has been renovated meaning there is more room for the audience. Walking down the garden towards the tree house you are flanked by glittering lights and delicately carved wooden walls. Crossing the bridge over the little stream feels like entering a special world of music, an idyll of talent and calm hidden in the back garden of this house in suburbia. Before the show everyone mills about just outside the tree house around the open fire. It was lovely to see some familiar faces and find out what they are up to. 

On the bill on Thursday were three acts I've heard a lot about but never seen before; The Cadbury Sisters, The Old Dance School and Andy Oliveri as well as two new discoveries Tom Daly and Cal Doonican. 

Host and legend Paul Murphy kicked the night off with a performance of a very lovely song and then introduced Tom. After some surprise that Tom didn't appear upside down through the roof wearing speedos (just me??) I enjoyed his soulful tunes and banter. Next up was Cal Doonican (namesakes are funny things aren't they?) who performed a set of funny and thoughtful social commentary songs that went down wonderfully with the crowd. 

Andy Oliveri was next with his beautiful guitar playing and lovely voice, gorgeous folky tunes settling gently on the room as the fire crackled away in the corner. The Old Dance School, all six of them, were next to cram onto the not huge performance space. Their set was made up of impressively arranged songs and they made being in a band look like lots of fun. 

The Cadbury Sisters closed the night with the sort of harmonies that are surely only possible for siblings to achieve. I'm a sucker for great harmonies but the Cadburys don't rest on their laurels they also have great songs and arrange those vocals in really interesting ways.They explained how much has changed since their first appearance at the tree house a few years ago and that it was quite emotional to be back. They have the feel of a band of the cusp of taking a huge step up (recent gigs include a set in Hyde Park for Radio 2) and it felt quite special to be sharing this little bit of the journey with them. 

Songwriter's Cafe continues every Thursday in October, you can listen in via Paul Murphy's website

No comments: