LIVE REVIEW: Trixie Whitley @ The Basement, Sydney (19/04/14)

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Trixie Whitley’s musical journey to-date has taken some interesting and different directions, from the soulful dub excursions of Black Dub with Daniel Lanois and others, to forging her own solo career and its rich melting pot of soul, jazz, funk and blues. She treated the Basement audience to all of that and more, particularly with her newer songs.

Playing two sets, Whitely set about showcasing her range, both vocally and stylistically as a songwriter. Those only expecting the piano-based soulful excursions would have been surprised and possibly jarred by her ventures centre-stage with distorted guitar and loose, ragged rock songs. It all seemed to make perfect sense when taken as a whole as Whitely convincingly demonstrated her ability to harness and deliver her soulful and deeply emotive singing and a musically curiosity to seek out new ways to write and perform the music around those emotions.

Her voice was in fine form, traveling from a deep, rhythmic sound right up into her high register, complete with cracks and aching, heart-laid-bare rawness. With a backing duo (bass & drums) providing just the right amount of tension and context Whitely was able to create some wonderfully hypnotic music. On guitar she gave the impression that she’s using it to find new angles in her music and those songs were definitely more primal, riff and groove-based. To see an artist in transition between a debut album and the next step of her career was intriguing and Whitely herself admitted that coming to Australia where all of her songs were new to the ears of the audience was a real thrill. Whitely backed up her reputation and critical acclaim with a strong and often spine-tingling performance yet one senses, as with most career artists refining their art, her best is still yet to come.

Chris Familton

this review was first published in The Music

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