A blog for Joe Henry fans

zondag 26 november 2017

Lisa, Billy and a few others...

The Colorist is a Belgian band using more classical instruments together with self-made instruments, toys and other items that make sound.  These are some of Belgian’s finest musicians currently out there. They rarely make their own songs, usually they re-arrange another artist’s catalogue, and perform together with that artist. I remember with their previous project, featuring Emiliana Torrini, I told my friends ‘something extremely beautiful’ was touring in our country. That project resulted in an international tour and a record. Even today, sometimes they still perform it.

For the current project they asked Lisa Hannigan to join them. They reworked songs from her 3 solo albums. Indeed; also Passenger, produced by Joe. The song ‘fall’ she co-wrote with Joe, was another 1 that was performed.
It was again a wonderful show in Antwerp, I saw this week. As high as The Colorist set the bar, they can take the jump. It was, in the words Lisa addressed to the audience, "A musical, fairytale spaceship".
Keep an eye on them, because I heard they will be back on the road in April. If you can, go and see them, and have a wonderful evening.

And then, yesterday, I went to see Billy Bragg perform. Another member of the 'Musical Joe Henry family'. Last year they recorded and toured ‘shine a light’ together.
But let me start with giving Billy’s opening act a deserved place here. Irish folksinger, Paddy Nash, has a wonderful singing voice and brought us songs from his life and dreams, and since he’s opening for Billy Bragg, a little bit on current political and social problems was also presented. I’m sure he won a lot of hearts yesterday.
I need to jump back here a few weeks, because another member of this family came in with a great opening act a few weeks ago. Aimee Mann, who treated us with a great evening, and for my personal nostalgia played several songs from the Magnolia Soundtrack. These songs still stand tall !
But I was writing about opening acts: Jonathan Coulton gave us a humorous view on the world. For example:  check out his song IKEA.
Aimee Mann

Billy Bragg, is a man on a mission! He's traveling around the world, performing to reload his audiences their battery to strive for a better world. The appreciation he gets from the audience, will also surely recharge his.  And so we all help each other, and can make it happen. His mission comes in the form of this tour where he is promoting his album ‘Bridges not walls’. An album with songs he wrote over the last year(s), while he was also touring heavily together with Joe for the 'Shine a light’ songs. Yesterday he mentioned a few times touring and railing with Joe, and how the Current affairs from then, and news reporting about it, affected the concerts from this tour. I have seen 1 of those concerts, (actually: I think, that me and my wife are 1 of the very few Belgians who’ve seen it, if not the only Belgians?). I think I can understand what he was saying there. These words were an intro to Anais Mitchell’s ‘Why we build the wall’, a song that, for me, is turning into an anthem of this era.  It doesn’t loose any power, no matter how many times I’ve heard it.

Billy recharged every battery in the house, and an entire audience went home with a new motivation to be part of more solidarity !
We didn’t want to let Billy end the show, so he came back for a 2nd encore, on the condition that we sang the chorus of ‘A new England’, with which he also saluted Kirsty MacColl, by singing the verse he wrote for her.
An impressive ending, but a little ironic singing those sentences after such an inspiring evening.   But hey,... that song just pushed the battery up to 130%.

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