By Harry Bedford The Union Chapel in Islington provides a stunning setting for a music concert, especially on a summer’s evening when the dimming sunlight shines through the stain glass windows and the chatter from the crowd resonates up to the rafters.
The old wooden pews surround the stage allowing the entire audience a perfect view of the stage where the artists deliver their musical sermons. Tonight is the turn of country music songstress Caitlin Rose on the eve of her performance at the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde park, where she shares the bill with the great Neil Young.
Fellow country and westerners, Los Colognes began the evening with a very laid-back set, the highlight of which was their latest single Working Together, which is certainly worth a listen. They then returned to the stage to play the role of the backing band for Caitlin Rose.
The beautiful Caitlin Rose walked on to stage slightly after nine. After a very shy ‘hello’ in an adorable southern American twang, she launched into No One to Call, the opening track from her album The Stand In, released last year. Despite sounding very polished, No One Call, like all of Rose’s repertoire, remains true to the country traditions of Nashville.
The Dallas-born Nashvillian went on to take the audience on a journey through her repertoire of songs and in doing so she proved that there is a new queen of country music in tow – now that Taylor Swift has given up her reign to become a pop princess. However Rose doesn’t sing about teenage angst and boy troubles, rather she cynically discusses the realities of life, with wit, humour and honesty.
It’s hard not find yourself drawn to her charm as she pours emotion into every syllable she utters. Her retro sound almost makes you think that it’s from a different time. Rose’s influences are clearly the likes of Linda Ronstadt and Tammy Wynette, and her work certainly shares a likeness to Zooey Deschanel’s in the band She and Him. Any fan of authentic country music would love Caitlin Rose, with her detailed narratives that come to life on top of a four chord progression.
As the sun had finally set over North London, the band break into the dark minor tones of Waitin’, an angry love song that allows Rose to display her passionate vocal style. The group then left the stage and the keyboard player headed to the corner of the room where an old piano was tucked away. Unamplified he begins to play in 1930s jazz style that was reminiscent of a Hoagy Carmichael number.
The sound of the piano filled the chapel and along with Rose’s vocals, it produced a beautifully eerie sound in the song Little Loves – a song Rose claims was brought to her by a ghost. Regardless, the performance demonstrated her superb voice and the wonderful acoustics of the venue. Other highlights of the evening included Dallas, Only a Clown and I Was Cruel. However it was the song Pink Champagne, about a loveblind couple who decide to get married in Vegas, that was the real pinnacle of the evening. The song shows that Caitlin Rose has the ability to write really great songs as well as sing them. A wonderful night spent listening to great music in one of London’s most unique music venues.