James did another show in Whelan’s new upstairs room last night with me on piano, Peter Ryan on bass and Cion O’Callaghan coming in for the gig on drums. Support was provided by the wonderful Stace Gill (currently putting the finishing touches to her first EP) and, new to me, Rhob Cunningham. I was really taken with Rhob’s songs and easy-going demeanour. Here’s one of the songs he played last night, ‘A good or bad thing’, recorded for Channel 6’s ‘The Airfield Sessions’ last year…
The set with James was similar to the last night we played there. James opened with a couple of tunes on his own (including the hypnotic ‘Down the burning road’) and then we joined him.
- Fairytales – good opener; I get to play out a good bit on this one with a solo and everything!
- Breaking hearts – Peter and I stepped up the mics and supplied some backing vocals to the ‘itchy feet’ chorus of this song.
- I watched the world
- Please tell me there’s a spark
- If my heart should somehow stop – I love the eruption into the middle eight of this song.
- We don’t eat until your father’s at the table – this is such a fun song to play: it’s got a lovely, lazy gospel feel.
- I’m free – we fairly ripped through this one. Exhilarating song, even at the right tempo!
- I am hopeful
This last song is a new one and James wanted to try something a bit different so he sang while I played. We agreed that this was one of the highlights of the night and the crowd certainly enjoyed it and bayed for an encore, James obliging with a cover version of Sam Sparro’s ‘Black and Gold’, which he combined with the haunting, sparse accompaniment for ‘Down the burning road’ to great effect. This is a real ‘you-had-to-be-there’ story, because it’s impossible to make the leap from the club anthem portrayed in Sparro’s video to the hushed room that hung on James’s every word last night. Magic.