By Poppy Tohill
Artist: Jordie Lane
Date / Venue: Thursday March 19th, The Tuning Fork, Auckland
There was definitely something magical in the air when Australians' Jordie Laneand Clare Reynolds took to the stage at Auckland's Tuning Fork last night. Their voices alone were undoubtedly exceptional, but it was when they merged their stunning melodies and harmonies together that the magic triumphed.
Despite the small crowd, the audience were nothing but enthusiastic, encouraging and very much enjoying every minute of Lane's not only musical, but humorous stories and joke filled set.
Accompanied by Lane's guitar, the duo kicked things off with the soft, yet gritty emotive song, ‘War Rages On'about the tough street life of Saigon from Lane's 2009 debut album ‘Sleeping Patterns.' Both swaying from side to side, it didn't take the duo long to get lost in the music, as did the audience almost simultaneously.
"This is my first time back in New Zealand since I toured with Marlon Williams back in 2012," Lane announced, following his thanking of the audience for coming. "This is also Claire's first time here," he continued following her introduction. "This next song is about moving to New York and within two days falling in love... with a sandwich. You take what you can in that big city," he joked before they launched into‘Feet Fall' which saw pound upon a Gibson guitar case Jordie had earlier introduced as "our drummer Betty." Creating some impressive percussion throughout the song, this added a nice extra touch to what was undeniably one of my favourites of the night.
With songs that already tell of great adventures and tales throughout life, if Jordie ever wants a break from the world of music, I believe he could quite easily pick up the hat of a storyteller any day. Although Siri may disagree. Before performing 'Lost In You', a beautiful ballad which included a soft touch of keyboard from Reynolds alongside her stunning harmonies, Lane went on to share a story with the audience of their adventures on Ponsonby Road from the previous day. Barely mid way through his story, somebody's digital device interrupted as Siri piped up- "if you're trying to tell a story, please try again." "Woah, tough crowd," Lane joked, admitting, "this is the first time we've ever been heckled by Siri at a gig." Without further a do, continuing on with his story of a drunk woman's car getting towed and a car crash happening simultaneously, the duo went on to dedicate this song to Ponsonby "and the whole of Auckland."
'Diamond Ring' a track from Lane's 2011 album 'Blood Thinner' saw Jordie show off not only his guitar skills but also his harmonica playing talent; not that dissimilar to Australian folk musician Christopher Colemanwho is also known for his soft melodic guitar and harmonica based tunes. Either way, the harmonica was a perfect touch, adding a nice spin to the beautiful tune and easy going, enthusiastic crowd.
While Claire left the stage briefly, Jordie held the attention of the audience on his own just fine, performing a simply striking version of his tune 'I Could Die Looking At You,' which Claire added her harmonies to the last few versus as she arrived back to the stage, cup of tea in hand.
Proceeding on with the stories, Lane informed the crowd that his manager "who is actually a New Zealander, said to me that whatever I do, do not try the kiwi accent!" Lane laughed. Dodging the impersonation with mere pauses he referred to as 'awkwardness,' Clare refereed to the crowd as "all being on a first date. It's like Tinder!" she joked, before the pair acknowledged they'd gotten over the awkwardness and could happily move on, doing just that as they launched into a couple of new, unrecorded songs.
'Meet My Maker' featured a whirring organ introduction and build up, while 'The Ballad Of Messie Mae' "a song that uses both of our grandparents names, but is in no way a biographical song about anyone," had the whole crowd clapping and dancing along.
As the end of the night came into sight, they went on to perform what they referred to as a "folk classic," the most mesmerising version of 'You Are My Sunshine' which had me in complete awe the whole time. Their vocal melodies and harmonies soared well above and beyond the stage, seamlessly merging the tune into Dylan's 'All Along The Watchtower.' The definite stand out highlight for me among many others in the audience, I'm sure.
Following 'Black Diamond' the duo thanked the crowd once more and said their goodbyes, however soon reappearing on stage for a one song encore of 'The Publican's Daughter.'
Then before we all knew it, the evening was really over. Admittedly having no prior knowledge as to who Jordie or Claire were, they've certainly found a new fan in me.
With their superb mix and balance between humorous stories, comedic banter, their enchanting and mesmerising vocals and delicate, warming folk songs, it is fair to say Jordie Lane & Claire Reynolds impressed me well beyond my expectations and if you're in Wellington tonight, you'd be a fool to miss them!