What’s the ultimate thankless task? A quick internet search suggests it might be anything from busking in restaurants to being a football referee to defending the Holy Land. All well and good, but how many of those who’ve bleated about these or other burdens have tried booking regular top-quality, low-profile gigs in Newport in the last five years or so? Exactly. Gathered In Song continue to do this, while booking tours and arranging other events across South Wales; the fact that several of these events are free entry, this stuffed Saturday night bill included, makes them worthy of even greater props. It’s been said before here, but if you’re in any doubt check their pedigree over at http://www.gatheredinsong.com/ – you might not have heard of the artists on this bill, but if you’re in any way interested in alt.country, Americana, call it what you will, then you should be pretty happy here.
Texan DANA FALCONBERRY and Kentuckian MATT BAUER share more than the split single they’ve recently released; classic Americana themes of desolation and longing ring throughout both these singer-songwriters’ recordings, and both are undeniably reminiscent of more renowned performers. Falconberry’s tremulous Southern trill recalls Gillian Welch or Lucinda Williams, though her songs have a little of the glacial darkness of Nina Nastasia too. Bauer, meanwhile, looks impressively like Tim Harrington recast as a woodcutter, and has a feathery, whispered delivery not unlike Damian Jurado, Sam Beam of Iron & Wine or Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. Not sure whether the two will team up on the night, though it seems likely; should be a treat either way.
Also on the bill are Dubliner Eoin O’Ruainigh, mercifully going by OH RUIN, a Green Man veteran with a campfire folkiness offset by some ornate, wordy lyricism, and JUDSON CLAIBORNE. Four turns for nought pence, or the price of a return train ticket to Cardiff. You might just find a gem.
Saturday 29th January 2011
Gathered In Song in association with The Local presents…
Dana Falconberry is a musical natural. Hailed by the Austin Chronicle as one of the city’s “most promising singer-songwriters” and “most arresting female vocalists,” her distinctive talents and singular creative vision find full and brilliant fruition on her two releases to date, Oh Skies Of Grey and Halletts, both of which provide a musical rainbow of stylistic splashes that range across folk, blues, jazz, Southern mountain music, ambient modernity and more.
“Extremely talented…[her] album has been in constant rotation around here all month.” Gorilla vs Bear
Matt Bauer’s incredible music rings with the heavy gravitas of peers like Will Oldham or Damien Jurado. It is dark and atmospheric stuff. Some would call it bleak, yet it also manages to be compellingly addictive and somehow startlingly genuine and life affirming. Fans of Iron and Wine or Bon Iver will also find a lot to love in his creaking, banjo driven murder ballads and rustic appalachian leanings. Mariee Sioux, Alela Diane, Sarah Kramer and Jolie Holland are just a few of the collaborators on Matt’s amazing records.
“He’s channeling something heavy, preparing the rest of us for a darkness or beauty that we aren’t yet ready to receive. We believe Matt Bauer is a prophet.” Thrasher
“One of this year’s finest records” Muzzle of Bees
Eoin O’Ruainigh’s story began in Dublin playing guitar for a string of bands (including support tours with Morrissey) before travelling to London, where he began writing solo songs. Crooning tales of childhood mischief and the first sweet stings of love, combining stomping blues with campfire quiet troubadour tunes. A little loose, a little rough around the edges, with melodies borrowed from old Irish folk songs, and stories set to intricate finger picked paeans. Eoin’s playing brought him guest appearances with Alberta Cross and Alela Diane who he played bass and guitar for touring the States and the UK in 2008. While honing his song writing craft, Eoin’s been learning the art of the luthier, making the guitar he now plays on.
“This reminds me of early Cass McCombs and also of a number of other things I can’t quite put my finger on right now. Perhaps even some Clientele. It’s really very soothing indeed. Television. That’s it. Tom Verlaine is in here. I love it. I am very glad to be bringing the act to the UK for the first time” The Local
“The music alone should satisfy your appetite; a lazy slice of Americana to ease the transition from daylight-saving time” Time Out Chicago
Entry is free. Doors 8pm.