Artist: Andrew Duhon
Venue: The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth
Date: 21st July 2013
The 500 year old tower sheltered us from the kaleidoscopic sights and sounds of a scorching seaside afternoon, as charismatic New Orleans singer songwriter Andrew Duhon weaved his magic.
Gifted beyond his genre, his evident prowess as a wordsmith is accompanied by deft guitar picking and slide, and a trademark vocal with honeyed metallic timbre which makes up in power and resonance what it lacks in range. Add his eclectic musical influences for a potent combination.
The captivating ‘Gonna Take a Little Rain’ from his superb new release ‘The Moorings’ preceded ‘Crosstown Southern Blues’ addressing the Bluesman’s worst enemy, ” a woman that treats you right”! and ‘Coming Down Over Here’ from his debut ‘Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You’ was another befitting the heat wave!
‘Feelin’ Low Down’ was a tasty harp laced rockabilly before the lyrical and evocative ‘Just Another Beautiful Girl’. ‘Midnight Special’ “normally played as a porch song with local Bluesman Ernie Vincent” was a spellbinding slab of Blues mythology. First half closer was the new traditional Folk tinged title track. A superbly acerbic ‘Tandem Bike’ led to a rousing Bluesy ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’ as the Anglophile built an easy rapport with the rapt crowd sharing his personal experience with a poignant hurricane song ‘I Miss My Home’.
The observant poet displayed another dimension with a show stopping a cappella harp stomp ‘Old Woman’ before continuing in top gear with a compelling ‘St James Infirmary’ showcasing his latent vocal power. A comic ditty written for pre-schoolers lightened the mood before an intense ‘Growing Older Now’ and a wonderful Bluesy ‘Sidestep Your Grave’. A stunning Rap style Blues stomp, ‘Ones Twos Threes’ crowned a rewarding experience with the young artist back dropped by candle lit escutcheons and trailing flowers.
Catch his mesmeric talent on next year’s tour.
For anyone who hasn’t been down to the south coast of England lately, we’ve been having a heat wave. One so swelteringly stuffy that it makes seaside towns such as Portsmouth feel like the deep south of the U, S of A. Seems that Andrew Duhon of New Orleans brought the Louisiana heat with him!
The Square Tower in Old Portsmouth is a cool and shaded building on the seafront, but that didn’t stop Andrew from coming along and raising the temperature in the tower to melting point! A ‘lazy summer Sunday concert’ – I don’t think so. Andrew’s songs resonate a hot honesty that is evident in the first strum and in his cardinal breath.
Already treated to a performance of a currently unreleased tune on the battlements of the tower roof (pre-gig), I was giddy with excitement for the awaiting audience. Having seen Andrew play many times before, I knew that a real treat was about to unfurl.
Kicking off with ‘Just Another Beautiful Girl’ from newly released album The Moorings, Andrew set off from the get-go to capture his audience. Every one of Andrew’s songs lives and breathes through his trademark jangle guitar sound and soulful voice; an unmatched voice with qualities similar to no other singer/songwriter out there.
Being the tour to support the release of The Moorings, the set was mainly filled with songs from this album; ‘Evelyn’, ‘Land Rush’ and the title track itself to name just a few. In fact I believe Andrew played nearly all of the twelve tracks from his new release.
That being said, the audience got to bask in the radiance of melodies from Songs I Wrote Before I Knew You, Andrew’s hugely successful debut album. Hurricane song ‘I Miss My Home’ enchanted through that truthfulness that is oh so common throughout Andrew’s songs. ‘Growing Older Now’ and ‘Scared To Death of Dying’ also made appearances and turned fairly sad subjects on their head, with upbeat guitar melodies and clever lyrics.
In an attempt to bring the concert back down to a bearable climate, Andrew slowed the set down by playing ‘Tandem Bike’ from The Moorings, which he dedicated to a present local couple who have been married for 57 years to date! How sweet. Just to keep a little bit of southern attitude though, Andrew took a Cajun-style harmonica solo for good measure.
As the set drew to a close, gnarly slide blues tune ‘Sidestep Your Grave’ roused the audience into fits of whoopin’ and hollerin’ caused by the abundance of dirty slide guitar riffs. Andrew exited stage left and quickly came back on, announcing that he’s not really a fan of the whole ‘making people clap for an encore thing’.
For the encore the audience were locked into a stomping harmonica-led ‘Ones, Twos, Threes’ whose raw power made sure the cheers didn’t die down, until Andrew was well clear of the raucous mob left in his energetic musical wake.
Andrew Duhon is a one-off songwriter and has a self-professed infatuation with England. A musician of this quality only has a matter of time before they hit the big-time, so make sure you go and see him before he gets huge!
*all images reproduced with kind permission of Liam Brown ©2013
Take a look at Andrew Duhon’s exclusive performance just for us from the top of the Square Tower before the show.