Beth Orton – a success at the Set

Published on 04/04/2013  Kilkenny people

Late last year while listening to the radio, I came across the song, ‘Call me the breeze’, a sound that was distinctively Beth Orton.

A sweet and simple melody that proved a great inspiration, as I was learning to play the guitar at the time So, I practiced and practiced, until I plucked up the courage to attempt to perform the song at the next Open-Mic night in a local bar – One girl and her guitar, how 
hard can it be?

I was delighted to have the opportunity to see the mystical-folk singer-songwriter, Beth Orton at the Set recently. I was also pleased to discover that the very talented local singer and guitarist, Clive Barnes provided the support for the evening and what a superb start it was. The Set was full and the Deep-South- Blues guitar slide and drum effects from one electro-acoustic guitar was something to behold.

Vocally Barnes had it mastered, with two microphones, alternately, a distortion effect created a sound very much like that of ‘E’ from rock-band, Eels with the gravely element comparable to Bruce Springsteen.

When the set was finished with a well-deserved eruption of applause, it was not long before the silhouette of waify singer-songwriter Beth Orton graced the dimly-lit stage.

Beth, who was born Elizabeth Caroline Orton in East Dereham, Norfolk, like many following in the folk-rock genre footsteps, stem from roots that are steeped in the crystal clear sounds of Joni Mitchell – Not surprising to learn that when Orton was young, she was given Joni Mitchell’s album, Blue, as a gift and one that’s evidently had a resounding effect on 
the songstress.

As she awkwardly perched on the stool and shyly introduced herself, Orton was answered with a warm reception. “The guitar’s too in-tune for its own good” Beth joked, with not even so much as a strum of practice. Accompaniment was courtesy of Orton’s musician husband, Sam Amidon, who 
played the guitar, fiddle and 
vocally, the pair harmonised 
perfectly together.

The songs from the folk-rock repertoire, were a few familiar favourites, as well as songs from her beguiling bewitching new album, Sugaring Season – her first since 2006 saw The Comfort of Strangers. The latest album, which takes its sweet title from when maple trees are tapped for syrup is steeped in melancholy, as much as it 
is in sweetness.

When the concert ended, I felt compelled to savour the sound. So much so, that I deliberately avoided listening music for some time amount of time afterwards. Which considering it was Saturday night in the city was not easy!

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