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  • Words Chris Farlie Pictures Fran Farlie

Jessie Buckley - The Honky Tonk Stage - The Long Road


Just occasionally popular culture passes you by and so while I was aware of Jessie's work in Taboo and Chernobyl - her role in "Wild Rose" and indeed her "I'd Do Anything" past were not on my radar - which meant I was coming to Jessie Buckley the singer with completely fresh eyes, eyes that were nearly popping out of my head by the end of her set which minute for minute i'll go out on a limb and say it was the best of the whole weekend it was that good. This could easily have been main stage material let alone hidden away in the Honky Tonk.

Taking to the stage, in white jeans and a white t shirt she sat perched on a stool opened with Randy Newman's "Guilty" and immediately filled the room with the strength of her vocals showing herself to be a fantastic bluesy torch singer but there was so much more to come.

Revealing that being on stage was "fecking terrifying" in her broad Irish accent she never showed anything but supreme confidence. the next song Wynona Judd's "When I Reach The Place I'm Going" showed her change style to a great americana country vocal on this extremely atmospheric take on the song. The country vibe continued with a version of Emmylou Harris's "Boulder To Birmingham" with Emmylou revealed as being a great influence on Jessie. This version was also made with some perfect pedal steel work from Jessie's excellent band.

Things at this point were already of the highest quality and then we came to "Deeper Well" and things went somewhat stratospheric! The stool was dispensed with and Jessie went into something of a possessed state completely overtaken by the music, which was a furious Irish / folk song into which she poured every ounce of energy - it ended with Jessie beaming a huge smile and an enormous sustained round of applause broke out.

After such efforts it was only fair that she be granted a quick sip of stella to revive her as her water bottle was not on stage. It was back to the stool for the next song, John Prines "Angel From Montgomery", for which the band played a very subdued backing which let Jessie's vocals shine through, vocals that were sung to an entirely silent room captivated by the spell that she was casting.

This was a performance of the highest quality and things just got better and better, a Sandy Denny cover of "Who Knows Where The Time Goes?" just had faint signs of her Irish lilt shining through and was punctuated with by her hitting some extraordinary notes in a quite outstanding performance, powerful but not in an X Factor over the top way - this was magnificent.

All too soon, we reached the final song "Country Girl", once again the stool was dispensed with and the possessed Jessie stomp was back as the song revved up into a rocking finale - one that saw the Honky Tonk rise as one to give a well deserved standing ovation as it completed

It may have been only 30 minutes but Jessie must have been shattered from the efforts that she put in - I can't recall anything like it - we can only hope that she decides to carry on this musical side of her career as well as her acting as she is far too good a performer.

#JessieBuckley #TheLongRoad