Concert Review – The Jo Harman Band
Jo Harman – Lichfield Guildhall – November 30th 2019
Words by Ben Macnair
Photography by David Jones
With a talented band behind her, the powerhouse singer-songwriter and performer Jo Harman played a set that varied between hard rock, blues, jazz and gospel when she made her Guildhall debut on Saturday, November 30th.
Support for the evening came from the local blues singer and guitarist Tom C Walker, who played a well-received set of music, which ranged from the slow-burning Sweet Angel to fitting covers of Bob Marley’s Stir it Up and the Rolling Stones Miss You. Tom is still in his twenties, and already has a storied musical career behind him.
The acclaimed singer Jo Harman has built up a steady reputation, which she more than lived up to on the night. With her band of pianist and backing vocalist Emily Francis, Nat Martin on guitar and backing vocals, bass player Sonny Winslow and drummer Dave Gimbey were all able to follow their leader with startling musicianship, the sudden endings to some songs showing just how tightly drilled the quintet was.
Songs included the opening salvo of Silhouette and No-One Left to Blame, whilst Through the Night was a much more funk-based song, that allowed for some deft soloing. Things were quietened down for a reading of Carole King’s Will you Still Love me Tomorrow? Its well-known piano part being expertly played, while the more jazz-based Cloudy showed the group’s strong harmony singing off to significant effect. An Acappella, solo, off microphone Bless Ma Soul, was an attention grabbing display of Jo Harman’s facility with gospel, and soul singing.
The lively set finished with the more pop-based, feel-good groove of When We Were Young, before the encores of I Can Let Go Now and the love song Say That You Want Me. This was music-making of fine quality, with finely honed song and stage-craft all adding to a very entertaining evening.
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