Sound hole completely covered up with various kinds of electrician’s tape, James Vincent McMorrow’s distinctive guitar rhythms build relentless crescendos against gentle drums, fluctuating keyboards and anthem-like backing harmonies. The agenda is set for a mesmerising and lovely evening of deeply soulful folk music.
Nottingham’s Glee club audience was graced with transcendent lyrical breaks as well as affable natural chat from this important up-and-coming Dublin-born artist. Standing mostly quite still against his clearly devoted five-piece band, McMorrow delivered song after song of beauty, experience and spiritual meaning to an enchanted crowd. Crystal clear execution, deep sincerity and a high soulful voice, not unlike the great Jeff Buckley’s, charmed and disarmed fans captivated by his simple but powerful stage presence and the compelling natural themes of his haunting songs.
Eyes fixed on the middle distance this accomplished Irish troubadour invoked a release from mere materialism in ‘Bring Me a Higher Love’, which is set to form the flip side of a special vinyl 7-inch of his seminal ‘We Don’t Eat’.
Looking beyond the mechanisms of heart break and the metaphysics of love, McMorrow’s deeply emotional songs from his album Early in the Morning (made in friend’s remote farmhouse in Ireland) were delivered with point blank precision. They told of a soul’s search for meaning in the sky, the night, the hills and the soft falling snow.Listening attentively, at times almost as though in a church, the audience watched with him for the mystical clues in the wind, the moon, the stars and the ordinary things of life and home that are James Vincent’s themes. Following stunning versions of his own ‘From the Woods’ and ‘If I Had a Boat’ came a moving cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’, which was upstaged only by an astonishing solo encore of Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’ to close a very special show.
McMorrow is supported on his tour by Lindy Ortega, a Canadian-born lady with a very special song writing talent. Her Irish Mexican descent enriches her Canadian country vocal with a Spaghetti Western feel and a powerful traditional falsetto. Her album Little Red Boots is released on October 24th.