Review: Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer St Bonaventure's by Keith Clark 8/10
AFTER her remarkable folk opera Hadestown and last year's excellent album Young Man In America, it was fascinating to see which direction Anais Mitchell would now take.
She certainly surprised with her latest album, Child Ballads, for the Vermont singer and songwriter has turned to British folk songs.
Opening act Sam Carter, the BBC Radio 2 Horizon Folk Award winner of 2011, is a fine guitarist with a strong voice and an easy way of interacting with the audience that quickly made him many new friends. Of his folk-related songs, Dreams Are Made Of Money was especially good.
Anais Mitchell and her collaborator on Child Ballads, Jefferson Hamer, opened with five songs from the new album. Her distinctive voice wasn't always strong enough for these powerful ballads, but, when she harmonised with Hamer, the sound was engrossing.
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She did some of her own songs too, but they returned to Child Ballads to close the night with of Tam Lin and Geordie, while the encore finished with Gram Parsons' Hearts On Fire.
Yes, there are better versions of these ballads on record, but I've rarely heard them performed in such a mesmerising fashion.