[MUSIC ~ SA]
Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Centre, Sat 27 April.
Paula Standing is a local singer/songwriter who has worked hard at her craft, and is making a considerable name for herself both locally and nationally. On Saturday afternoon she launched her latest compositions in the form of the EP Truth & Trickery at Nexus Arts.
In the encircling darkness of the intimate venue, the program began with a set from the wonderfully talented Fiddle Chicks (Emma Luker and Dee Trewartha) who used fiddles and percussive beats to perform their own songs and instrumental pieces with professional ease. They demonstrated consummate skill in a diverse set covering a range of moods from the poignancy of grief and separation to the stomping final instrumental delight of Kilt Up.
Paula Standing took to the stage with a backing band of first-rate musicians, most of whom also brought their skills to the recording. In addition to the 6 songs from the EP, Paula added two songs from her wide repertoire – Stormy Summers Blues from the Adelaide Songs project, depicting a different and compassionate view of the final eviction of the brothel manager from her home; and Pity Me a raw and passionate ballad of marital breakdown and revenge.
Songs from the EP were performed with energy and passion, giving Paula the opportunity to use her full and powerful vocal range. There was good understanding and synergy between the musicians and the character of the songs encompassed many themes: hope and despair, repression and empowerment, depth and superficiality.
All Over By Christmas, for example, addresses the harrowing choices presented to a young woman as her marriage begins to fail. The darkness of the subject matter is in contrast to the musical treatment, given a gypsy style and somehow underlining the anguish of the story.
Paula is working in country music, but she isn’t confined by the genre. Heartaches Coming Around, co-written with Lola Brinton, is soon to be released as a single and if the enthusiastic reaction of the audience at the Nexus is any indication, then there is great promise for more success to come.
Emily A Smith – guitars and backing vocals
Percussion – Holly Thomas (EP) Gerard Spalding (Nexus launch)
Bass – Shireen Khemlani
Fiddle – Emma Luker
Keys – Richard Coates
Images courtesy of Reel Time Studios