HOUSE CONCERTS YORK "one of the top 10 venues for up and coming acts" BBC6 Music

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The Lost Highway Tour
Christian Cuff, Emily Baker, Will Kevans - 9 April 2011

Artist's website:

Christian Cuff:

There's a lot of thinly veiled glory in these parts, what might be called legends on the hoof, people who seem too cool for school – and yet here they are, hanging out like any other schlep in the neighborhood one day, rubbing elbows with the gods the next. It's like running into Batman at the 7-11: Hey, how about that Joker?

Christian Cuff, the musical man-monster of the midcoast, is one such, a singer/songwriter whose work is evocative of Tom Waits and Dave Matthews, without being derivative of anybody dead or alive. As a songwriter and performer, Cuff is larger than life, deeper by far than the mainstream, a source of quirky, vital lyricism and roiling, emotional darkness. He's also just this guy, see? Your neighborhood visionary, Dylan on the hearth, approachable and knowable though in fact headed for Big Things here shortly. So the time to see Christian Cuff in concert is now, while you can afford the tickets and don't have to worry about just where in this mighty-big city you're going to park your car.

Which we have done. And having done it, will do again.

Cuff Does Things Large; the world is invited to listen. I find his arranging vocabulary to be particularly rich, and I can see why he'd want to have a cello in the mix on a regular basis. There's a lot of gravitas in these songs, a lot of deeply reflective lyrics and plenty of air: Thinking people's music, with riffs to match.

A hell of a show. Catch it while you can.

Chalkboard is his version of taking you on an adventure. And he’s going to take you everywhere he’s ever been. And you’re going to like it from start to finish. I’m tired of hearing people tell me the art of the album is dead. Hit this from front to back and try to tell me that again. There are no singles to be had here. You need all of the songs. It would be like reading a mystery novel but only reading through certain chapters.

Now, there are few bands that can rope me in with their lyrical wordsmithing. Listen, I’m the first in line to be a lush for hook laden pop songs, but even though I’ve heard Umbrella over a thousand times, I still can’t remember any of the lyrics. Unless it’s about the part where Rihanna wants me under her umbrella.* Not this. Every lyric off Chalkboard has the weight of a thousand pounds behind it. Filled with vivid imagery mixed with metaphors reflecting on life’s highs and curveballs served up by a healthy dose of sultry vocals, Chalkboard already has me anticipating Christian’s next release. Until then: the melodic – rhythm driven bass lines will woo you, the strings will sex you up, the drums will get you thumping limbs, and the vocals will sooth you. And that is just the half of it.

I think I just listened to Hobo Island about 30 straight times.

Emily Baker:

Drawing from the earthy inspirations of a long line of heritage singer songwriters such as Carole King whose qualities start with their songwriting prowess, Brighton singer songstress Emily Baker sets out her stall in this, her finely sculpted debut album and calling card 'House of Cards' (Little Love Records).

House of Cards is a beautifully crafted collection of songs that truly reflect a hugely engaging and emerging talent with songs such as the title track House of Cards and the instantly infectious and easy to relate to song One Of Those Days which form the backbone of this immediately engaging and accomplished body of work.

House of Cards sees Emily not only writing and singing but also playing everything from the guitar to the glockenspiel and Ukulele and you can immediately detect the love, energy and purpose that has gone into every track on this debut which has been carefully pieced together by Producer Colin Walker ( Carleen Anderson, Beth Rowley).

In 2009, Emily won the Arts Foundations songwriting award and Annie Lennox presented her with The Arts Foundation Fellowship in Songwriting which helped set the tone towards Emily writing the body of work contained within House of Cards.

'When I realised I felt a small pang of jealousy for how good one of these songwriters is - that was when I knew I'd found my winner.' - Vashti Bunyan (Arts Foundation Judge)

Once on stage Emily is genuinely at home with the audience. Her skill is in balancing passionate storytelling with flashes of eccentricity between songs: taking a slice of real life and serving up with a melody.

In the last 18 months Emily has toured the UK both solo and with Squeeze frontman Chris Difford; supported Jon Allen, Jesca Hoop, Beth Rowley, Frank Turner and Gabriella Cilmi; and has headlined London Songwriters Week and played London City Showcase, The Secret Garden Party and The Great Escape Festival. Pete Doherty cited her as the person who first influenced him to pick up a guitar and she was reunited with Doherty, supporting him both at Bournemouth Opera House and Hackney Empire.

Will Kevans is an award-winning singer-songwriter and cartoonist. He is signed to Judy Collins' New York label, Wildflower Records and is married to the artist, Annie Kevans.

"This album by Will Kevans is one of the best I have heard in many years. The style is a weird mixture of indie/folk/rock which really needs a classification of its own. The extremely tight musicianship (without losing a certain sort of jamming quality) and the extremely thoughtful lyrics make this album a delight to listen to over and over again. Will's voice is excellent and, as one who has seen him live, his stage presence is dynamic and magnetic. "