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Review: Sarah Gillespie Quartet at the Lichfield Arts Blues and Jazz Festival

Singer-songwriter Sarah Gillespie was in good form when she led her talented quartet through a concert of her own songs at the Lichfield Arts Blues and Jazz Festival.

Sarah Gillespie Quartet

Sarah Gillespie Quartet

Playing guitar and singing, she was more than ably supported by the leading Mercury Music prize-nominated pianist and composer Kit Downes, drummer James Maddren and double bassist Ruth Goller.

They tackled songs that took in history, motherhood, love lost, found and unrequited, modern technology, and lonely heart columns.

The music was taken from many genres, with pop and jazz being the main components, while the piano playing gave vibrancy, surprise and sophistication to both accompaniment and soloing roles.

They started with the pop of In The Current Climate, a political polemic which still sounds sadly relevant, before the country pop of Signal Failure looked at a lack of communication, spiritually, technologically and physically.

You Win, You Win, You Win was a new song that sound polished by its arrangement, while a stripped down St James Infirmary took the traditionally haunting reverie to a depth that hadn’t been explored by Sarah Gillespie vocals in the set.

Moonshiner was another traditional piece which relied heavily on the piano part, and the spoken word interlude of Lonely Heart’s Ads looked at a practice that has been replaced by the internet.

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