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Erin Rae and the Meanwhiles, Green Note, London live review

Erin Rae
Credit: Reto Sterchi

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Erin Rae has been picking up a lot of buzz on the music circuit since the release of her debut album, Soon Enough, back in 2015. She’s just wrapped up working on her second album and is currently touring the UK with her band the Meanwhiles to promote the record, including a stop at Camden’s intimate Green Note last night.

Erin opened her set with the gentle, lilting Light, which had an almost lullaby-like feel. Right from the off her gorgeous voice shone through on every song – it’s sweet, soothing and really conveys the heartfelt emotions in her music. I genuinely felt like she could have sung the phone book for an hour and it would have held me and the rest of the audience utterly spellbound.

From there Erin moved into Minolta, a folky song with hints of Joni Mitchell about it, and then to the emotional Playing Old Games. Throughout the set she frequently mixed uplifting melodies with evocative lyrics, creating some really beautiful imagery. Many of her songs are about personal growth and self-realisation, such as Soon Enough and the Dust Bowl-set Pretty Thing. However, there were also nostalgic moments in the likes of Monticello and Can’t Cut Loose, as well as touching on more serious issues such as mental health in Wild Blue Wind and Futile Attempts.

One of the highlights of Erin’s performance for me was The Real Thing. It balanced 70s-style folk vibes with twangy guitar and a yearning for a former life. Erin’s rich voice sounded very like Margo Price on the song and it got a huge reaction from the audience. Throughout the show she was very relaxed and personable, chatting with the crowd and showing off her self-deprecating humour, including the song Putting On Airs. I also really enjoyed the uptempo, soaring Love Like Before and would have liked a few more songs in that vein.

Erin finished off with the reflective Clean Slate before returning for an encore of Like The First Time, a slow laid-back groove which showcased her wonderful vocals. She then followed that with the bittersweet Rose Colour, which showed the balance between her light melodies and darker lyrics and was the perfect way to round off a fantastic performance.

Overall I was blown away by Erin’s performance. Her voice is absolutely outstanding and she has a really good light touch with her songwriting that’s fresh and new whilst still having a lovely retro feel about it. To quote a fellow audience member I overheard, she was simply superb. I’m looking forward to the new album and hope she’ll be back in the UK soon.

 

Set list: 1. Light 2. Minolta 3. Playing Old Games 4. Pretty Thing 5. Futile Attempts 6. Can’t Cut Loose 7. Soon Enough 8. The Real Thing 9. Wild Blue Wind 10. Love Like Before 11. Putting On Airs 12. Monticello 13. Clean Slate 14. Like The First Time 15. Rose Colour Performance Date: 20th June 2017

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