Cambridge record store Fopp was the venue for a short acoustic performance from highly-regarded folk duo Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, a prelude to their show later in the day at The Portland Arms….
….and what a treat for the tired CD and vinyl shopper, as the pair spun their wistful melancholy with single guitar and unamplified voice, (adding a brief appearance from support act Samantha Whates on backing vocals for two songs). They opened with ‘The Birds’ from their ornithologically themed EP from 2017. Josienne has a pure, rich yet delicate voice, fully inhabiting the lyrical tales she tells. Having instantly won over the audience the pair then played the poignant ‘Something Familiar’ (5.8 million listens on Spotify!).
Currently touring to promote a new LP, Josienne and Ben have an extensive back catalogue including some covers of traditional folk tunes and more contemporary works such as ‘Dark Turn Of Mind’, a slow waltz from US alt-country singer Gillian Welch’s 2011 album ‘The Harrow & The Harvest’ which was performed next. Their current stage show adds drums, bass and keyboards to the sound, but the sparseness and space in the sound produced this afternoon was a hypnotic mix on its own. Ben plays acoustic mainly but also featured a retro Gibson hollow-bodied electric; what a superb sound that made.
They finished the set with the mellow ‘Seedlings All’, the title track to the new disc.