Communion feating Carrie Ashley Hill, Michael Kiwanuka and Anna Rose
Rockwood Music Hall
January 7, 2014
Communion hosts a monthly series a of live music nights in a number of venues across both the States and the UK, presenting local and national acts that you might know and in many cases, should know in a fairly intimate setting. Last Tuesday, which was the first Tuesday of the month, was Communion’s monthly stop at Rockwood Music Hall. In fact, for Communion’s first NYC area show of the year, they turned into a small music festival with artists playing in each of the venue’s three rooms
Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay as long as I would have wanted – sometimes having a day job makes it difficult to be a music blogger; but I did catch three fantastic artists and that makes it more than worthwhile.
Carrie Ashley Hill
Currently based in Brooklyn, the night’s opener Carrie Ashley Hill’s slight but perceptible Texan drawl reveals that she’s a transplant, like countless other singer/songwriters and bands. Her surprisingly short set – in fact, all three sets were surprisingly short to me – was comprised of material from her latest effort, Me At All. Sonically, the material was hauntingly gorgeous while possessing a slight alt country/country twang. it shouldn’t be surprising that her work has been compared to the likes of Stevie Nicks and Neko Case; Hill’s material possesses both a delicacy and a quiet self-assuredness.
Much like the lovely and incredible Nicole Atkins, Hill’s material feels lived in, as though it comes from the deeply personal observations, experiences and thoughts of her life. And the entire time, the small, early crowd was enthralled by her.
I had heard about the British singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka for the better part of about two years but last Tuesday was the first time I caught him live. And I have to say, shame on me for that because Kiwanuka was absolutely fantastic. Although it was just him and his guitar, the somewhat soft spoken Kiwanuka’s sound and lyrics seemed to owe a great debt to the likes of Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and Bill Withers in the sense that they were quietly self-assured and soulful, but perhaps more importantly, the songs had a thoroughly lived-in quality – with an elegant simplicity and introspective, soul-searching nature.
Much like Carrie Ashley Hill, Kiwanuka had the audience absolutely enthralled in a way that I hadn’t seen at Rockwood Music Hall in quite some time. But the most amazing moment was Kiwanuka’s absolutely gorgeous and haunting cover of a Neil Young tune (who Kiwanuka mentioned was one of his favorites).
Anna Rose needs no introduction here on this site but her Communion set was a loose, boozy set of bluesy rock songs from her excellent sophomore effort, Behold A Pale Horse – including the album title track “Behold A Pale Horse,” “Los Angeles,” “Because You’re Mine” and others. But for me the set’s highlight was a sultry and slow-burning cover of the Stooges’ “Gimme Danger."
For these photos and more, check out the Flickr set here: