I first came across the music of Jamie Doe, aka The Magic Lantern via a friend (and musician) Wallis Bird. She and her girlfriend raved about him so often that when I spotted his name on a bill with Stroud’s favourite band Hot Feet a couple of years ago at the Prince Albert, there was no chance I’d be missing the gig. Jamie had the room rapt and enchanted, as he does, and after the gig I sidled up and told him that Wallis’ recommendation had not disappointed. He knew her name. She had gotten hold of his phone number and been leaving him regular gushing messages of mega-fan adoration. He had been listening to her music too and a curious mutual fandom had developed between them.
Not long after this I had the satisfaction of introducing Jamie and Wallis to each other (they got on like a house on fire), and now as a lovely new chapter in the story, Wallis appears on the new Magic Lantern album, singing her version of his song; Air At The Top.
The new album is a great concept; Jamie Doe asked friends and fellow musicians he has been inspired by to record their own covers of songs from his 2014 album: Love Of Too Much Living. The collection makes you appreciate Jamie’s song-writing skill in many new lights and shades. My personal highlights are Rozi Plain’s version of Different Paths, Sam Brookes’ take on the song Stitches, and of course Hot Feet’s Elbow-esque cover of No One’s Fault.
Alongside the London album launch, Jamie has thankfully not neglected the UK’s secondary musical capital - Stroud. Launching the album at SVA Just before Christmas, Jamie plays a solo set and has enlisted Leonie Evans and Hot Feet to share the bill.
The word ‘girlcrush’ would sum up the way I feel about Leonie Evans pretty succinctly. This woman does a trumpet impression that makes you wonder why anyone would bother learning to play the actual trumpet. She has the kind of on stage energy that makes you wish she was your best friend, her vocal and guitar style are both intricate and warm.
With the crowd suitable primed, Jamie Doe took over and played a gorgeously understated set of old and new songs, interspersed with his impeccable banter.
Standing out in the overpopulated singer/songwriter scene is a serious achievement. I always feel a mixture of delight and relief when I see someone pick up a guitar, open their mouth and do something captivating and original. Jamie Doe nails it. He’s got the inventive guitar style - including winding a piece of paper between the strings to create a sound akin to an African thumb piano. He’s got a voice that has been likened to Chet Baker and in a polo neck he looks a little bit like a blond Jacques Brel. Killer combo.
Jamie Doe makes you appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into writing a song. Every element to his songwriting is honed and delicately finished. His lyrics often achieve that magic of saying something huge and complicated in one succinct melodic phrase.
Hot Feet played the closing set of the evening, getting Jamie Doe and long-term collaborator Pete Roe up to join in on their Magic Lantern cover: No One’s Fault.
I’ve been lucky enough to hear Hot Feet play many a gig over the last five-or-so years, and I’m always astonished at their ability to keep improving. New songs Dust Will Blow and Final Farewell provided an exciting glimpse at what we should expect from the album they are currently working on. By popular request they ended the set with Three Black Crosses, from their most recent EP Mist Is Dust. Hot Feet have a talent for creating big, bombastic, shimmering layered instrumental sections in their songs, demonstrated most perfectly in the last one-and-a-half minutes of Three Black Crosses. A glorious ending to a fine evening of music. Not bad for a Wednesday night in Stroud.
Listen to Love of Too Much Living featuring Hot Feet, This Is The Kit, Sam Brookes, Rozi Plain and more here
Anna is a writer and devoted Stroudie with a passion for music, comedy and art. Visit her blog for reviews, poetry and more www.reviewyourmum.wordpress.com