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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

LIVE REVIEW: JENN BOSTIC - THE GREEN NOTE - CAMDEN


The last time Jenn Bostic played London it was at Bush Hall, it was a night promoting the "Revival" album - our review of the night said "It could not have gone any better". Who would have thought it would take nearly six years to get the next visit from such an anglophile? It was not all by choice of course, the pandemic took out a couple of years and the birth of her son Skylar also helped to delay her return. Any thoughts that the UK might have forgotten her were swiftly dispelled by a sold out show and a sizeable queue prior to doors opening, with the Green Note seeming to be at capacity within 10 minutes.


This was to be a special show for many reasons, it would obviously re-establish Jenn with her London fan base as well as offering an opportunity to reclaim some of her older songs while giving her more recent ones an airing in a live environment. Dressed in a bright red suit Jenn was happy mingling with the audience before, during and after the show.


Taking the stage announcing "It is so good to be back!", Jenn would play her keyboard standing up and headed straight into "Ghosts", immediately she was firing out the rapid fire lines on the verse and  hitting the big notes on the chorus. The arrival of Skylar was the inspiration for a new song, one all parents can identify with - "You're So Easy To Love". It was delivered with a real passion and the occasional finger click. The big notes of the previous song seemed to be just markers as Jenn easily stretched her vocals even further. It also allowed Jenn to invite the audience to join in on their first part of participation of the evening.


It seemed that with each song Jenn would just push the vocals even further - "Not Yet" stretched things even further, with a magnificent extended note on the word "yet" and further lung busting bursts throughout. able to shift from quietly spoken to verses to blistering choruses, this is how a soloist can inject real drama into their performance.


As Jenn would note each of her albums has flipped genres, her latest album "Take My Hand" now able to be played live for the first time, sits firmly in the Gospel genre. In truth it is a theme that as been laced throughout all of Jenn's albums so it was not a huge leap to make. For the songs from this album, Jenn did choose to use some additional backing tracks for atmospherics which in some cases may not have been needed as Jenn and a piano was really all that was required.. The first dip in to the album came with the title track, where Jenn's pleading on the chorus was a most powerful statement to behold.and the optimistic hope for the future was delivered with real conviction.


A request for "What Loves Feel Like" got a real party atmosphere started, from it's a capella opening, through to the audience participation on the "Na na na na na" chorus finishing with the segue into "People Get Ready". There is one point at any Jenn Bostic concert that is always an emotional roller coaster and that is the arrival of "Jealous Of The Angels". It's been covered by quite few artists who Jenn was most gracious about, despite the fact that this is clearly "her song" in that the events described happened to her. The audience were already wobbling from the spoken introduction with a few tears being shed before a note had been played - and even if it didn't need to be, tonight's version seemed to show Jenn reclaiming her own song. Slightly slowed maybe, with each word, almost tumbling from her lips, you could not fail to be moved, and perhaps for a few moments given the chance to really think about anyone in your life that may have passed. It has become a thing for Jenn to join the song with "Amazing Grace" which never fails to induce audience participation and always produces a most spiritual moment - regardless of your faith of beliefs, the sound of a room singing in unison is a most powerful sensation and incredibly moving.


The next track from the new album was "You Find a Way" which came with a backing track of shimmering cymbals and strings turning it into quite a production. There then came a special guest appearance from Alyssa Bonnagura who introduced a guitar sound to the evening. This was a chance to sing a co write "Love Wins", written after a shooting in Nashville. Rootsy, defiant and with a message of hope, this was another chance for audience participation. The guitar would then change hands and allow Jenn a chance to play Bonnie Raitt's "Love Me Like A Man" to close out part one of the evening.


Any thoughts of the second half not being able to match the first were immediately dispelled with the southern soulful sound of "Love You" from the "Revival" album, the piano notes pounded out to match the amazing notes being hit.The effects would return for the new albums opening track, "Leave It At The Cross", with Jenn pouring every ounce of effort into the performance. The soulful mood of the opening of the second half, resumed with the Kyshona Armstrong co-write "Lonely" with a sound so sweet. With more visits paid to the new album during the second half, you could not help but be moved by Jenn's faith, "Unsung" with it's sweetly rising extended "Hallelujah", and "Hope" with its message of Dividing walls needing to be torn down could not be more pertinent today if it tried.


If there was to one song that summed up Jenn as a performer then it would be "Faint Of Heart" - as she explained her refusal to fit into a box - the line


"I refuse to compromise"


at times she would drop to barely a whisper.

Her come out fighting song "Nothing's Going To Stop Me Now" took the message of the previous song and transformed it into pure positivity. One final visit to the new album brought us to "Too Grateful ( Too Stay Silent)", a stirring anthem, that summed up the driving force behind the new record.


The show would close with more of the soulful gospel sound that had been ever present throughout the evening with "Revival", the audience singing their "Take it to the river and wash it away" part as loud and proud as if they had been in a baptist church in the Deep South. The encore would see "Counterfeit" from the "Faithful" album close things out, there was nothing counterfeit about Jenn Bostic tonight though - she was the real deal!!






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