I Love How Much You Love Me

One of the advantages of being a patchy sleeper is that I get to listen to more stuff. I’ve tended in the past to listen to podcasts but with the fortuitous discovery of the BBC Sounds app (who knew, eh?) I’ve been listening to more music since the New Year. The Freak Zone obviously, but finally I’ve discovered the majesty of Gideon Coe. People have been urging me to listen to more radio for a while now and I’ve always objected to the idea of listening to music that someone has chosen for me. But insomniacs can’t be choosers, and I’m now a fully signed up member of the Guvnor’s Appreciation Society.

Coe has pointed me towards a load of “new” music in the last two months (plus a surprising amount of Bluebeat) and I feel something of a fool for waiting this long. Chief of the artists queueing up to be enthused over is this lady:

Anna B Savage

This is an artist with a remarkable voice – it’s the first thing you notice, no question. She reminds me a lot of the singer formerly known as Antony Hegarty, now calling herself Anohni (and sadly a little quiet of recent) or of Nina Simone. It’s a beautifully rich tool, only occasionally going over into Cleo Laine territory (clearly, no one wants that).

But the songs she writes are pretty remarkable too – very personal (almost awkwardly so), very warts and all, sparing herself no blushes. She comes across as both powerfully independent and painfully needy at the same time, as imperfect as the rest of us.

I bought A Common Turn just after Christmas (her first real album, I think) and have been enjoying it very much since then. One of the advantages of being late for everything is that you don’t have to wait so long for the next one, and sure enough the second Anna B Savage album was released last week.

See? I’m both late and on the cusp, at one and the same time.

Here’s one of the typically stylish Blogotheque films with her doing two of the tracks of this new record.

Lovely stuff.

All this became even better when it became clear that if you ordered an advance copy of the new record, Influx, at Rough Trade, Bristol, you can see her sing a few tunes as well. So a couple of days into Half Term and short train ride later, serendipity found me shaking off an overlong winter hibernation, once again standing in front of a stage, expectation gleaming in my eyes.

I think I might have been expecting some defiant Amazonian to stride confidently onstage and so was more than a little surprised to see a slightly self-conscious but instantly personable figure dressed in orange, stepping barefoot on to the modest stage that Rough Trade have round the back of their café. She played “Hungry” from the new record and then introduced herself and made it clear that she welcomed interaction and questions from us. She was a bit taken aback when one confident young lad who’d come with his father fired off straight away

“Marrr-mite. Yes or no?” , in a textbook Brizzle burr that needed repeating. (“Hell, yes!” was the eventual answer.)

She went on to play five or six from the new record which it doesn’t seem fair to share yet, plus the title track of A Common Turn”, a flawed, really gorgeous song that I will leave with you here:

A Common Tern (sic)

The whole Rough Trade experience was very pleasant which coupled with the discovery of Uber (not yet reached Gloucester as such) meant I was on a train home by a very respectable 8:30.

An old feller could get used to this again…

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