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  • Writer's pictureCHRIS FARLIE

Live In The Living Room Gives Back - Thomas Kavanagh, Reya Jayne, Taynee Lord - The Bedford - Balham

The "Live In The Living Room Gives Back" day managed to combine exposure to a large number of grass roots artists, while raising money for a worthy cause ( this year Meningitis ) via a selection of songwriter rounds during which each act got to play three songs. A few moments before starting both Thomas and Reya could be seen frantically strumming making sure everything was perfect, practicing their lines, while directly in front of us Taynee Lord's guitarist was also having a preparatory strum, Taynee herself seemed totally at ease just chatting despite the fact that she rarely plays without a band. It had the makings of a very good round and so it would prove to be.

Thomas Kavanagh, #TEAMw21 caught at C2C where he was highly entertaining and so it would prove today. He would open each of the rounds, starting Round 1 with "All For You" a single from 2021. Choosing to stand for his songs, he had a vary strident guitar intro before settling into his first verse. With an ear for good tune and a chorus where he played with an energy and the impassioned vocal you'd imagine he'd require if he was fronting a full on band. His "Cheers - Thank You" came milliseconds after the final note had played - he could easily have done with savouring a bit more recognition!

Thomas's dedication to his cause came through when he told us of his emptied bank balance due to his frequent trips to Nashville - "Whom I Gonna Love" was the result of one of those trips so it was money well invested!

At C2C he was joined as he is on the recorded version by Kirstie Krauss, however this afternoon he would have to play both parts. Thomas really stood out, when initially his guitar sound was not coming through, as he just stood to one side of his microphone to play and sing, effectively unplugged.

The room fell to a deathly hush so that we could all hear his vocal and guitar, fortunately normality returned after about twenty seconds. This was a polished performance, the chorus once again showing his mastery of the pop country hook, the final visits to the chorus would also see Thomas throw in some highly extended notes to great effect.

Thomas's final song was a live exclusive of his new single, "Find Your Way" - which once again saw him deliver a band ready version of the song, and a power vocal that gave everything and left nothing behind - and is well worth checking out in its recorded version.

Reya Jayne after hitting the festival circuit in 2022, has until now had a fairly low profile 2023, we bumped into her at C2C and had a nice chat, but in terms of recorded output and shows, nothing had been forthcoming. It was therefore good to see her back with some unreleased material and sounding better than ever. Her opening tune "Rose Tinted Rear View" recalled a trip to New York City that at the time has disappointed, yet in retrospect seemed to have been pretty good and used that as a metaphor for other aspects of her life. Very confident playing, matched to a strong descriptive narrative, well sung - she really stood out. For her second round Reya would go with another unreleased song "Surviving August" which came with the sad back story of her Nan passing as Reya's debut EP was released. Just as she commenced the second verse. there was the loud sound of a glass breaking, Reya acknowledged with a wry smile but did not miss a beat in her performance. With lines like

"I'm not pretending that I'm still not mending" -

It's good to breathe again" it was truly a heartfelt performance

Reya's final song "Bet She Doesn't Know" was from the EP that had earlier been mentioned, strangely although we have a few issues with the lyrical logic of the song, such was the power in this most impressive of deliveries that we put aside all reservations and just sat back and immensely enjoyed watching the drama unfold.

It was to #TEAMw21's first sighting of Taynee Lord and on the back of this performance even in a stripped back version with just an acoustic guitarist in tow rather than her normal band, it won't be the last! . Taynee dressed in a jacket with sergeant stripes, would open with her latest single "You Think You're All That", - it came with an opening that suggested what would follow would be anything but routine as her voice soared loud and proud. As she sung she would be a bundle of different looks and hand gestures - it was pure country, a little bit eccentric but 100% thoroughly entertaining. A song of pithy putdowns to an ex friend delivered in her own inimitable way - the word "brag" in the line "All you do is brag" seemed to extend endlessly as it worked its way through the scales to become high pitched.

Her second song "Love Hard" saw Taynee detailing her "little quirks", was simple yet effective and delivered with a definite country twang. Her guitarist would have to work with his guitar cutting out yet it did not seem to put off Taynee who approached each chorus with ever greater volume.

It showed another aspect to her performing style and was undoubtedly well written and witty.

Taynee completed her final intro by mentioning that "Not all of my songs are bitter - just 80%!" Her last contribution "Like The Midnight" combined a tale of a serial cheater with an upbeat chorus. It was another mixture of the guitar cutting out which Taynee's guitarist managed to adapt to admirably, despite it being incredibly off putting, along with another delightfully eccentric delivery, including some lovely extended notes and whoops.

These were three artists who could not have been more different from one another and yet each brought something special to the party and we would happily have spent more time listening to each of them - but that will have to be for another day.

Essentially today was a bit of a taster menu - some acts you were bound to like more than others - these three produced in 40 minutes, nine slices of high entertainment - we loved every second of it!!!




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