Emily Scott Robinson, Violet Bell & Alisa Amador
Jumpin’ Hot Club
Friday 27th January 2023
For a variety of (health related) reasons I’m still struggling to leave the house to go to gigs; and tonight I had a real dilemmas as I had the choice of three to go to …. all very different all intriguing in their own ways.
I chose the smaller gig; mostly because I’m in love with Emily Scott Robinson’s album BUILT ON BONES and the Jumpin’ Hot Club’s new favourite venue the Globe pub has great acoustics (and lighting).
The first surprise of the evening was walking through the door on the stroke of 7.30 to find the duo Violet Bell already on stage AND the venue was full.
As the first song closed singer Lizzy Ross introduced herself and the long and convoluted story behind the songs they would be singing; primarily about the mythological; creature Selkie.
The couple flit seamlessly between Folk, Bluegrass and even Americana. It became evident that tonight wasn’t going to a ‘normal gig’ as Violet Bell were soon joined by Emily Scott Robinson for a song at the end of their charming 40 minute set.
Following a short ten minute break, Alisa Amador wound her way through the cramped seats, plugged in her funky looking Guild guitar and then entranced us right from the off with a Country infused version of Johnny Mercer’s PS I Love You; during which she actually mimicked a trumpet solo!
Much like the couple earlier; Alisa never stopped smiling as she told her stories which preceded her ‘Latin, funky, Folky, Jazzy Folk’ songs (her Dads description apparantly).
Somewhere in the middle of her short set she sang a beautiful song called Alone, which at her request featured ‘finger clicks’ from the audience and; do you know what everyone (inc me!) joined in and sounded like a field of crickets alongside Alisa’s soaring vocals.
The introduction is far too long and complicated; but it helped make sense of a young Latino woman from Brooklyn redefining Radiohead’s High and Dry as a weird Mexican infused piece of lo-fi that made me write ‘Swoon’ in my notes.
As the notes were still hanging in the air Lizzy and Emily joined her to add honey drenched harmonies to some beautiful Spanish language songs; only for the other half of Violet Bell, Omar Ruiz-Lopez joined the trio to add fiddle and guitar to the songs. Even if I didn’t know what she was singing about; the audience sat entranced and when they ended the applause was deafening.
That first 90 minutes flew by in the blink of an eye.
Finally it was the time for Emily Scott Robinson to take centre stage and …. well …. she was absolutely wonderful. Her first song was Cheap Seats and was about the night she went to the Ryman to see John Prine AND Bonnie Raitt and could only afford the ‘cheap seats’ but the song itself is a metaphor for life IMHO.
Next song (I think) was Hard Way; which was a series of scenarios from her life and those of friends and family …. and got 4 stars in my notes.
Emily had been excited earlier in the day to find a piano already on the stage; so included a starkly beautiful version of her Let It Burn; which in my mind was ‘one of those songs’ that make the gig going experience ‘special.’
Emily took to her acoustic guitar again for If Trouble Comes a Lookin’ ….. her ‘Country Cheatin’ song’ and it had a magnificent twist that nobody expected …. judging by the smiles I saw littering the back half of the room.
By now I wasn’t totally surprised to see the other three join Emily on stage, with Omar providing fiddle or acoustic guitar while Lizzy and Aliza provided honeyed harmonies.
The last surprise of the evening was Emily introducing a trio of her songs that had a Shakespearean theme to them; and do you know what? When you knew that, they made sense … but all three are just simply cracking songs.#Shakespeariana ?
The evening was meant to end with Men and Moons (my Favourite song on the album btw) but the standing ovation Emily and friends were forced to have a conflab to decide on what next to sing as an encore … which was fun as we got to see Emily actually teaching the trio the chorus live on stage!
The song itself, Travelling Mercies was a fabulous end to a fabulous gig.