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Posted Wednesday, May 3, 2006
This writer is usually fairly unimpressed by singer songwriters exhibiting their personal emotions and relational upheavals. Chloe Hall was able to powerfully impress this aging cynic.
The combination of cello and guitar is interesting by definition and James Hazelden is an expressive player who also has a highly acceptable touch with vocal harmony, so the odds are already in Chloe's favour on this point for a start.
Her first chords on the guitar were attention grabbers for a fan of alternative tunings, being edgy 4ths and 5ths rather than the usual run of gloomy jazz chords, and the cello underlined the moods elegantly.
As a singer she is radiant, being one of those people who draws the audience into the mood she creates. Hers is an intimate performance into which even aging cynics can relax. Her singing has an effortless wide range. Anybody who can sing at the top end of their range in a near whisper is a respectable performer and Chloe Hall uses the full width of the expressive spectrum - as I said - effortlessly.
Her poetry and writing have both complexity and almost ridiculous simplicity. “Fallen angel boy” is a chorus for the illiterate with a far more complex use of images in the verses.
Her recording reveals her as a talented multi-instrumentalist, but the complex simplicity of the North By Northwest performance was all this writer needed to develop a profound respect for Chloe Hall.
Here is no Joni Mitchell clone, but a mature, emotional and technically accomplished musician with a lot to say and all the resources to say it. Take any chance that's on offer to hear her.
Chloe and James will be performing at Sutherland Folk Club on Thursday 11th May, and at the Harp in Tempe with Greg Arnold on Friday 12th May.