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Blind faith at Temperance - 1

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Blind Faith supported by Rich Keogh at the Magic Lantern

Review

I started composing this review while last night's concert was still in progress & after a while realised that it was in danger of becoming a list of adjectives, so in the interests of good style, I'll try to spread them out through the whole piece.

It certainly was a beautiful evening again at the Magic Lantern & the exquisite music flowed over me, around me & through me. Blind Faith (John Garrett on keyboards & Faith Meades on vocals & guitar) are a very tasteful & classy act: please do try to catch them live if you have not already done so. The venue was perfect for them: a rapt audience shared with me the experience of luxuriating in their sounds & I am so glad there was none of the distractions of a bar environment.

It was an evening of the unusual & a few firsts: Paul Englefield of "Hot Music Live" who was present checking them out & filming,  noted that the venue offers musicians the security of being able to ‘take risks' & I'd certainly agree that I've seen several innovate & improvise. They seem to enjoy it too: both John & Faith were radiating happiness (and this with Faith battling a sore throat from earlier in the day which I must say made no discernible impact on her vocal performance), cracking jokes & having fun on several numbers, "Riptide" being an obvious example. This was the longest set I've had the fortune to hear from this band, which was a treat for me, the first time I'd seen Faith play her guitar live (which was really effective in adding new textures) and the night's "support" act, Rich Keogh unusually played his set of tastefully selected covers midway through the evening, bookended by two Blind Faith sets. I think he enjoyed his opportunity to play before such an attentive audience & he certainly offered us a most eclectic selection from Chuck Berry to traditional Irish music.

I guess one has to call Blind Faith very eclectic too: it's hard to pin them down to any genre, with John's mighty piano skills sounding classical at times, jazz inflected often but with many other styles popping their heads up: I particularly liked one track played in a Southern Blues organ manner.

Faith is a most engaging singer, with her amazing range commented on by all reviewers (myself included) but she is a most expressive one too: she works hard at interpreting lyrics and shorn of her guitar, makes many evocative hand gestures during songs, most reminiscent of Edith Piaf.

Their repertoire contains carefully selected covers, avoiding the obvious, such as the previously mentioned "Riptide" and songs by artists as diverse as Tracy Chapman & Frank Turner. However it is their originals which most impress (check out their EP "I've Waited", reviewed in "Hot Music Live"). These are beautifully wrought and tend to be about heartfelt emotions: which brings me to my final adjective which came to me during the performance: "moving". You don't have to personally know the subjects of songs like the title track nor "Holly-May", (the song which appears on "Hot Music Live Presents Vol 1" and which tonight was played, for perhaps only the third time, in the presence of its subject) to appreciate the sentiment.  They are splendid performers but when you can write as well as this....well I'd love to hear more originals from them.

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New project from Blind Faith

News

I thought that I'd share with you hot news (within the last hour) from highly rated local duo Blind Faith (John Garrett on keyboards & Faith Meades on vocals)

They are currently working on a new song "Re Write" and hope both to produce it with a full instrumental arrangement including a choir. The aim is to raise money for both Guide Dogs for the Blind & Motor Neurone Disease awareness (discussions are in hand with the relevant charities to confirm their approval as I write).

In their own words:

"This is due to John having the daily struggles of being fully blind yet still empowering his independence. We would like to raise money for MND as Faith recently lost her cousins to Motor Neurone Disease earlier this year. She believes more awareness needs to be made about the illness. We would like to bring the two communities together to be hand in hand with helping raise money for both charities!"

Both Faith & John are also looking to take part in a sponsored wolf run to raise funds.

Blind Faith are certainly on a swift trajectory at present: Touch FM's Neil Wilkes (of the Coventry Culture Show) has been singing their praises to me, they are established on both BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's "Introducing" and Paul Sanders' weekly poll on HillzFM. They have played with the equally meteoric Joe Dolman & have recently also become involved in the "Alternative Sounds" project capturing the cream of Coventry & Warwickshire music, past, present & future.

May this new and very worthy project meet as much success as they have been generating recently.

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Blind Faith Debut EP: "I've Waited"

Review

It is good, so soon after reviewing a live Blind Faith performance when I saw them collaborating with Chalk Drawings at APE Promotions' "Surreal Deal" at the Zephyr Lounge, to be a position to review their forthcoming debut EP, "I've Waited"

This band is in fact a duo: Faith Meades on vocals & John Garrett on keyboards:  I imagine they are used to enquiries about Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood & co, but since the latter don't use the name anymore.....

Consisting of three original songs ("I've Waited", "Holly May" & "Stay") plus a cover of Sara Bareilles' 2004 track "Gravity", what strikes me straight away is how they play to their strengths: when you have a vocalist this talented & a pianist of this calibre, why muddy the water with too many extra elements of arrangements? Yes, the extra instruments of the Chalk Drawings gig brought out additional textures & I'm sure in the future they may well experiment effectively along these lines, but for now thank goodness they have had the confidence not to over produce & to set out their very considerable stall with clarity, focus & consequent impact. Only "Stay", which features additional (male) vocals and some tastefully light snare drumming departs from the essential template of voice & piano. As a statement of intent & calling card for a career it works extremely well.

The songs are as beautifully written as they are performed with intelligent & evocative lyrics set to emotionally appropriate melodies. It's good to hear that the art of lyric writing is still alive & thriving in some quarters. Much as I do appreciate the impact of dance music on wider songwriting, I do sometimes roll my eyes when I hear good performers sing good songs but which are over dominated (in my opinion) by excessive repetition of hooks & which ultimately leave me wondering what the piece is about. No danger of that with Blind Faith: the words & intent are as clear and lucid as their delivery.

By sheer coincidence, as I was playing the EP for the first time, I was contacted by Neil Wilkes who hosts the Coventry Culture Show on Touch FM & I couldn't help but share the title track with him. His response? "Her voice is amazing. She needs to be out there! She's brilliant- so crisp!!". I think we can anticipate Blind Faith on the Coventry Culture Show after that endorsement... And I look forward to hearing this material live too.

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