Bearing in mind the original date for this gig at The Met had to be re-arranged as Amy Wadge was invited to The Grammys and The Brits what with her association with the rather high profile which is Ed Sheeran (remember 'Songs I Wrote With Amy' - that's her!), plus the fact that Luke Jackson is seemingly the 'go to guy' in folk circles when you need a duet partner and you have quite an impressive double bill. And so much for a short sharp and to the point opening sentence.
Taking the stage first 2"because I'm old" and with the tour advertised as a combination of two generations of songwriter, it's probably more an indication of Luke's youth more than anything else. Apart from anything else, the tour has been simply a great opportunity for Amy to get out and play her guitar/piano and simply sing some songs again. Her musical life now clearly has the added facet of songwriting with some very very big names, yet her songs, inspired by her friends and her growing children, all accompanied by a discreet yet impressive finger picked style, ooze quality and maybe it's no surprise she's been snapped up in the circles in which she now moves.
Her new five song 'Recovery' EP and the performances of 'Scream' and 'Rainbow', plus (obviously?) her version of Ed's mega hit 'Thinking Out Loud' delivered in a small studio theatre in the North of England brought things into perspective; that Amy Wadge is an no unpretentious and extraordinary songwriter. Her duet with Luke on a song inspired by her grandparents - 'One Last Dance', compete with the key line of "just have one last dance before you leave" was a clear demonstration of the reason she's such an in demand collaborator.
In a similar way, Luke Jackson continues to be painted with the 'old head on young shoulders' brush. Not phased by dodgy cables and with Amy acting as roadie - from The Grammys and The Brits to scrabbling round on the floor of The Met's studio - despite their status, Luke and Amy are a duo who have no affectations whatsoever. Delivering the songs with a combination of intensity and a sensitivity, Luke switched from songs from his debut album ('More Than Boys' written as a young man now becoming a song on the theme of looking back at a long gone youth) to Sam Cooke's 'A Change Is Gonna Come'; unaccompanied and presented in a bluesy gospel style, it was a measure of the road he's been travelling and showed in a nutshell the rate at which he's been developing as an artist.
Next steps for Luke will be the release of an EP he's worked on as a trio with Connor Downs and Andy Sharp - a glimpse coming in the form of 'Misspent History' while he called up Amy Wadge to accompany him on a new song 'Finding Home' and wouldn't it be a pleasure to hear recorded versions of the material on which they've duetted on this tour. An encore in which the pair had an enjoyable semi improvisation through 'Ain't No Sunshine' and into 'A Team' and 'Ain't Nobody' underlined what a strong pairing these two have been together. Smart money may well be on them doing something musical again together, hopefully in the not too distant future and guaranteed that as has been on this tour, it will be a partnership to savour.
Words Mike Ainscoe, Pictures Amy Ainscoe
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