When I started this blog, I gave myself two rules: 1) update it regularly, and 2) keep to the theme – only write about vintage stuff. Seeing as I’ve clearly broken rule 1 already (work, holiday, the dog ate it etc), I thought I may as well break rule 2 as well…
Before I discovered the total geek-out joy of covering the house with bits of vintage phones, my first love was always music. So much that a few years ago, with a good friend, I started a website for local bands in Manchester. The website still seems to have a life of it’s own, even though we both gave up active interest in it a long time ago. Delve into the archives, though, and you’ll find a review I wrote of a gig at the Packhorse pub Levenshulme, where first on the bill was an extraordinary artist call Liz Green.
She totally blew me away that night, and has done so again on the five or six times I’ve seen her since (highlights including a festival tent silent and hanging on her every note at End Of The Road, afternoon tea accompanying her recent afternoon gig at the Portico Library, and playing amongst the art in the Whitworth Gallery).
The one thing I didn’t see her do was release an album. Despite (or possibly because of) winning the Glastonbury Festival 2007 Emerging Talent Competition O, Devotion! has, it seems, been a painful birth, and has seen her musical style develop and change quite substantially. Now with a band behind her, the fragile folk has morphed into a beefier and more confident thing, a kind of swamp-blues-jazz-folk-hybrid – but hasn’t lost any of the charm, intelligence or bawdy sense of humour.
The best thing about Green, and a handy way to throw in a vintage reference, is the timelessness of her music. You’d be hard placed to point out exactly what era she is singing from. In my gig review I said that she “sounds like a shy Nina Simone”, and now song songs wouldn’t sound totally out of place performed from a 1950s midwest American verandah, or on a cabaret stage in 1920s Germany. This music is unlike anything else you’ll find today – forget your fake and glossy Duffies and Adeles, if you want genuine new bluesy jazz, and give O, Devotion! a go.