With so many good artists around doing something to stand out from the crowd, to attract a new audience, requires as much marketing as musical ability and Dutch born UK resident Gitta de Ridder has come up with a novel scheme. The next album, “For Everything A Season”, is being released as a box set of four seasonal EPs followed by the full album and bonus track. In this way her existing fan base gets a regular output and she has a chance, every three months, to attract a new following. Also keeping her very much on the radar was the release of the first single, launched at a Laurel Canyon promoted show which attracted an almost sold out crowd to The Green Note on a Sunday night. This is a sign of both the quality of the performer and the influence of the promoter, who is known for putting on consistently high standard shows. Unfortunately what should have been a triple bill was reduced to just two due to illness but the gap was well covered and more than adequately filled
Opening the evening was, The Magic Lantern the stage persona of Jamie Doe, who mixes music with a sparkling personality. He opened his set with a good a capella version of Sam Hall before picking up the guitar to sing gentle songs about individual and very personal relationships that are not big, dramatic relationships but more the sort we can all relate to. His open and friendly manner not only drew the audience to him but stood him in good stead when he turned a small chord error into a long and funny story about how we have to learn that major and minor chords give a song a different feel. Children, apparently, don't make the same assumptions adults do.
After a short break Gitta took to the stage, looking for all the world like a subject in a painting by a Dutch master in a stunning yet understated black dress. Her music can best be described as happily sad as she is also a performer who concentrates on the close focus. Her cast are family, friends and lovers but what makes her music so appealing is the sense of vulnerability she has in her songs. There's a search for the happy ending which is never confirmed and only rarely hinted at.
Opening the set with “Stay A Little Longer” from her début album Feathers which is based on her living away from her family, so the chances to see them are few and always go by too quickly, leaving her back on her own again. Next up was a new track which will be on the Autumn EP, with its theme of change coming as reliably as the leaves fall. “Every Inch Naked” is about that state we have to be in to love somebody unconditionally, opening up to make ourselves available and yet vulnerable at the same time.
The Spring EP, with its motif of new beginnings and letting go was represented by “Restless As A Bird”. This is a song not just not just about looking for love but for stability, a place and a person you can grow with It paired well with the new single “My Dear, Oh Boy, Oh Man” which takes breaking loose and starting again as its subject. Sometimes we have to cast off the past to have a future.
These are not happy songs, by any means, but nor are they necessarily sad, They're songs about reality, which is not the airbrushed version of advertising or glossy magazines. Even “All Is Love”, which was written as a wedding present for Gitta's sister, is a reminder that love isn't easy, but the difficulties are worth it because ultimately love is worth the effort. As a listener it leaves you feeling rather uplifted and hoping that the characters in the songs will also find their Happily Ever After.
It was a wonderful set, full of confidence, and the audience warmed to Gitta's gentle, appealing charm; it's very easy to be on her side. Great support also came from Hannah Lovell on backing vocal and Twm Dylan on double bass. Gitta normally plays as a solo artist but the additional musicians filled out and enhanced her sound well. It was an exquisite performance.
The single is now available as a download only from iTunes and other online stores whilst the box set can be ordered via the website.
Words & photos: Tony Birch
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