Catherine Feeny @ The Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath – 2nd December 2009


“Can someone close that door?” asks the solitary figure on stage as the booming beats of Good Shoes rumble from the other room at the Hare & Hounds. Upstairs the music is somewhat calmer as Pennsylvania-born Catherine Feeny gently picks at her guitar and her dreamlike vocals wash over the sparse-but-captivated audience.


Feeny is in Kings Heath in support of her third album, People In The Hole, which is currently only available through her own website. All three albums offer a fine collection of intelligent, soulful folk-inspired songs which often touch on the all-too-familiar subject of the ups and downs of relationships but never become predictable. Echoes of Elliott Smith, Tracy Chapman and the gentler side of Kathleen Edwards all come to mind and yet Feeny has an unmistakably unique sound which is finely showcased here tonight.


Occasionally she is accompanied by her husband, Sebastian Rogers, on guitar and backing vocals, helping to fill the sound out nicely. As Feeny sings, she closes her eyes and lets her hair fall across her eyes and loses herself in the moment. Songs such as Cold Mountain and the superb Hurricane Glass really show off her talent as both a songwriter and vocalist and the breezy Mr Blue demonstrates her ear for a catchy hook. Attempting a singalong on the latest album’s title track with around 20 people in the room may be unwise but her audience kindly humours her and joins in.


The highlight for me is the gorgeous New York In the 70s with its cool summer mood and Sesame Street reference. This is Catherine Feeny at her blissful best.

The encore of The Bell & The Anchor helps end the evening on a positive vibe before Demons brings the evening to a close. Simple, soulful and often quite beautiful music from a talented singer/songwriter. Not a bad way to spend an evening.


Review & photos – Steve Gerrard

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