It doesn’t matter how big the stage is in a room with just two guitars and two mics- there’s no room for mistakes. Every note finds the ears in the audience with such ease that no detail is lost, with everything hinging on the ability to deliver a performance that’s essentially rooted in perfection. Although there’s something in the songs from The Dove & The Wolf that demonstrated that these musicians not only understand that, they thrive on it. Performing the rare show without the band they lead, Paloma Gil and Louise Hayat-Camard stood near the edge of the darkened stage at Philadelphia’s Boot and Saddle last week (05-09-17) and zeroed in on every stitch of a sound that’s threaded and sewn by that very element of preciseness and mastery. It’s a clean sound that’s muted and pure, seemingly free of even the slightest tarnish or spoil to get in the way of an otherworldly atmosphere. Songs like “Green & Yellow,” “Golden” and “Insane, in Love” put forth a dual vocal where every subtle change in tone was immediately felt, illuminating the emotion behind each serenely delivered word. Although the sonic landscapes they brought to life seemed to be influenced as much by folk music as dream pop. Throughout their set, that middle ground they dug felt fertile and rich, allowing for lost-in-verse style reveries within the structure of a classic format. It was an aura that remained largely unbroken, earning the complete attention of an audience who only moved to applaud.
Soon after they exited the stage, headliner Courtney Marie Andrews took their place in front of a large curtain bearing the venue’s logo. “It’s good to be here in Philly tonight,” she whispered into her microphone after picking at the strings on her acoustic guitar. But when those soft notes turned into a hearty strum, the musician suddenly revealed a voice that would paint pictures. With Dillon Warnek on electric guitar, Andrews spent a little over the next hour performing songs that carried the listener through a rotating collage of various settings and circumstances, with much of the night’s soundtrack coming from her most recent release, 2016’s Honest Life. Often transporting the crowd right into the scenery, spirited performances of tracks like “15 Highway Lines” had instantly left the audience traveling with their foreheads pressed against the inside of a window, watching faded blacktop replace its own image like a flipbook, while “How Quickly Your Heart Mends” saw them all move wearily through the thick grey smoke of a noisy barroom. “So go on and forget, act like we’ve never met, leave with your new friends” she sang over the latter’s bright melody, just before getting to the sarcasm coated line for which the song is named. Describing the sharp, pride-bursting pain of being ignored, “How Quickly Your Heart Mends” captured a feeling of heartache that was embedded throughout renditions of the mournful, “Not The End” and “Let the Good One Go.” Although through it all, Andrews emerged as a forthright guide, detailing times of loneliness and uncertainty with the perspective and melody of a born songwriter.
Article: Caitlin Phillips