Beth Orton – Review – Asylum – Portland Maine

By  on February 11, 2014 in Concert Reviews www.mainemusic.com

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 Beth Orton – Asylum – Portland, ME – February 9th, 2014

By James Pappaconstantine

I’m not really sure when I first heard or became a Beth Orton fan, but I do know it was the first time that I heard “She Calls Your Name” from her Trailer Park album sometime in 1996. Beth’s voice was unlike anything else in popular music at that time. It has a style that reminds me of the singer/songwriters of the 60’s such as Carly Simon or Joni Mitchell. Her high falsetto tone injected into her haunting melodies gives her music life and a style that is all her own.

Opening the show were the Murphy Beds. One might think this duo hails from Ireland or Scotland, but in reality they are from New York City. Their music has an old world charm played in traditional finger style on acoustic guitar and bouzouki, an instrument reminiscent of the mandolin. Even their vocal harmonies have a European feel. The Murphy Beds were joined by Sam Amidon on violin for a couple songs. Sam is currently playing with Beth and getting ready to release his 7th release.

Beth Orton started the show with Sam. He stayed through maybe four songs before he exited and she took a seat behind a grand piano and played two songs. Before jumping into the piano songs, she shared with the audience that earlier that day she had met a very nice man who was there to tune the piano, and he told her the next person he was going to be tuning that piano for was Dr. John who is playing the Asylum soon. Beth said that she told him she wasn’t as good a piano player as Dr. John, and he replied, “I tune it the same for everyone, despite their ability.” After the pair of piano songs, Beth jumped back on guitar and played a handful of songs, including “She Calls Your Name” and “Concrete Sky” before calling Sam back for a few others. Shortly after that she left the stage to come back for an encore of “Stolen Car, requested by the audience, and a cover of “Ooh Child,” a song originally written and recorded by The Five Stairsteps in 1970. The show was everything I expected it to be – A great night of music.

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