A venture into the unknown for me; a venue I’d never been to before and an artist I didn’t know, although someone whose music my camera carrying partner in crime was familiar with, due in no small part to Jace Everett being the writer and performer of the theme tune to the popular TV series, True Blood; hence the reason we were there. Like a lot of the smaller London pub venues these days, The Slaughtered Lamb, situated in the Barbican area of central London is a popular gastro style pub, with a separate basement music room. (Not ideal on the first really warm sultry evening of the summer however as Jace Everett commented during the show, nothing that a couple of large oscillating fans couldn’t have put right!).
We arrived in good time, thirty minutes before the doors opened, and managed to get ourselves seated at one of the half dozen or so, small tables about 12 feet from the stage. For those who like to pigeon hole their artists by genre, Everett is classed as a country singer and with that being such a wide ranging genre and not being a great “country” fan myself, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. However as Everett made his way through the small room to the stage, acoustic guitar in hand, accompanied by his regular guitarist, the extremely talented Dan, it was quickly evident that I wasn’t going to be disappointed. No sooner had the show started, than I found myself tapping my feet and nodding my head with purpose, in time to what I think I would class as a country influenced, bluesy style of rock, rather than simply country.
Everett is one of those singers who judging from his between song patter, says it like it is, and uses some of his songs to express his views on the current state of the world, politics and life in general, albeit not perhaps quite to the same extent as Bob Dylan or Steve Earle (whom he referenced early on in the evening). He also conveys the persona of someone who has a past but is now very much at ease with himself, enjoying living in the here and now, and for the future.
Returning to the music, it was great. Jace Everett has a powerful voice with a very pure tone to it. Using one of his own earlier references, his style of song and purity of his singing conjured up an image of a cross between Steve Earle and Michael Buble. With just one very short break to replace a broken string, Everett and Cohen entertained us for around 90 minutes. Cohen’s playing of the electric guitar (which I think was a Custom Shop Fender Strat) provided the perfect complement to Everett’s acoustic and vocal, without ever overshadowing it, something that can sometimes happen when you have an acoustic/electric pairing. All in all a thoroughly entertaining evening from an artist I’d have no hesitation in going to see again.
Review by Tim Marcus, photographs by Sam Conquest Photography)