27 August 2012

Bookend octavos

It’s not often I attend singer-songwriter gigs and not often I get to the intimate Beyond Q bookshop café, but I did for Jasmine Beth and Daniel McFeeley. I met Jasmine (Crittenden, stage name Beth) when we both spoke on a panel about jazz writing and I was looking forward to hearing her in concert. Singer-songwriters are like books; very different under the covers. Jasmine performed a string of short songs, accompanied by guitar, dealing with all manner of people and relationships and loves with seriousness and presumably personal relevance.
Daniel performed longer songs, accompanied by eight-string ukelele and harmonica and clappers and metronome, with personal observations and humourous twists and American garrulousness. Jasmine’s songs ranged through a string of rhythms and meters with lines that spoke honestly with a sense of the poetic. Daniel was tongue-in-cheek, brash with a personable demeanour and played with loops and arrays of sound. He’s American but had me thinking of Ireland with his humour. Jasmine was Australian, laid back, even laconic on the day, with understated purpose. Words are the core of singer-songwriting, so here are a few: “Until you’ve slept with the Devil / you don’t know the meaning of love” or “Smiles like an angel / steals like a thief / tells you she loves you / but the words bring no relief” (Jasmine); “He must have felt crazy / he must have been sick / to be thinking with his d… / delusional mind” (Daniel). Like books on a shelf (or even women and men, for that matter) Jasmine and Daniel were worlds apart but bookended and they made for an interesting and entertaining afternoon, well away from jazz and where words matter more. Jasmine Beth (Crittenden) and Daniel McFeeley performed as singer-songwriters at Beyond Q bookshop.

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