Elly’s Mum Reviews… Joan Armatrading.

It all starts in the pub… Open the door to The Grapes on George St in Oxford on a Friday night, take a look at the crowd and work out who’s playing in the New Theatre opposite.

They don’t miss a trick in The Grapes. They are on it with the music. We were being spun ‘right round, right round, like a record’ and we were ‘burning down the house’ with classic 80s hits but a collective sigh went up when they played ‘Love and Affection’ because, of course, we were all here to go hear Joan Armatrading, who in her 46th year in the music industry is still out there touring 33 venues around the UK.

Armatrading – uncompromising in a black suit, comfortable shoes and jaunty red cuffs – with just two guitars and a keyboard, filled the stage for two hours, making quite a good joke that she was her own support artist, opening with songs no one had heard off her new album.

…And they were good songs too. This woman has a great voice, delivering poetic lyrics with a fine balance of full on vocal power and delicacy. She attacks her guitars as if they need the music to be dragged out of them. If you discovered her in your early 20s and just starting out in life, hearing her music now brings back unbidden waves of emotions. Sure, she sings of love and affection but also loss and longing.

All those emotions over all those years…It’s a lot of emotion.

Catch Joan for yourself – Tickets available here.

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