Roesy, James Fahy @ The Front, Canberra (26/4/12)

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What happens when the James Fahy Trio is minus one member? Is this the James Fahy duo, or James Fahy plus one? Whatever you call it, it was magical nonetheless. Fahy met drummer Bec Taylor in the corner of the dusty (metaphorically, not literally) venue that is The Front. Their faces were lit only by lamps that are very possibly straight out of the Jones’ lounge room in the 70’s, and boom, lyrical genius spilt from their lips and smooth indie folk burst from their instruments.

Although Fahy’s obvious passion is song writing, the man is versatile, pulling out some covers that could be mistaken for his own work. Showcasing his amazing vocal range, Fahy brought an aroma of passion to the small room with his cover of The Other Woman, originally performed by American jazz musician, Nina Simone.

Highlights of Fahy’s set included three tracks from his 2010 recording The Sun Will Burn Through this Cloud. Thrown into the middle of the set was the witty number A Song is Not the Place, and Fahy began to wrap up with the inspirational, surprisingly up-lifting folk ditty, Throw Yourself (into the arms of your friends). Beautifully harmonised with Taylor’s vocals, it set a small fire in the hearts of the crowd. And last but not least, a sad ending – but Fahy assured that the real ending to West Virginia Coin is happy.

Just as the crowd became comfortable and the chatter mellowed, they were met by a new face. Slightly more facial hair than the support act – but much less leg – it was acclaimed Irish singer-songwriter, Roesy. Having recently moved to Melbourne, Roesy is touring briefly through the ACT and NSW and The Front was his very first stop.

Veteran in the world of singer-songwriters, there was nowhere to hide in the cosy venue. Roesy quickly became a man in a corner with a microphone and his beautiful guitar, and he filled the room like no other before him. A true storyteller, he captured the audience, even whilst tuning his guitar. Not a word was spoken and if a pin was dropped, it would most definitely be heard.

Roesy wooed the audience with an assortment of originals each with its own story and unique sound, filling the few empty seats with fictional characters, brought to life in song. Roesy’s thick accent came on strong in a number addressed to my love, Cat Gut and Wind. There was, in Roesy’s words “a bit of a sing-a-longy one” in Only Love is Real. Roesy was quite impressed with one patron’s ability to harmonise whilst reading a magazine – even the audience had talent, it seemed.

If it weren’t for one person’s shy request for an encore, the audience may have missed out on what were the highlights of the set. Roesy obviously keeps the best for the people who really appreciate it. By throwing two tunes out bigger and better than before, the audience was treated to the melodic Shake the Devil Down and charming track Hell Bent on You.

All in all, this night was one not to be forgotten. Two men – the novice and the veteran – one lady, two guitars, one set of drums and more original music than one could ask for. It was a night soon to be recalled the next time any of the patrons are sipping on a glass of wine or bottle of cider from the couch at The Front, as a chilly Autumn night warmed with impressive musical talent and overwhelming passion.

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