Excitement is mounting with the approach of Carlisle’s Big Weekend show. Amongst other musical talents, I hear that Fiona Clayton and Laura James (Eden’s Jewels) are going to be playing the Introduction stage as part of BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Radio Show. It should be a great show!
We saw Fiona and Laura playing Cafe Bojangles in Appleby once and it was a superb show.
Fiona Clayton’s elfin good looks, fast and sensitive vocals, poignant lyrics and talent with guitar and keyboard make for a memorable live act. She also writes and performs her own stuff and her work is passionate in both its composition and delivery. She describes it as “surprising” and it is, it feels distinctly experimental. My favourite is probably “Soleil soleil”.
A singer-song writer since age 13, seven years of imaginative music composition during the wet-weather days of her youth and stealing time in the evenings to impress and be guided by her music teacher mother, plus dedicated practice and characteristically passionate live performance in east Cumbria’s pubs, clubs, and cafes, and major local festival appearances have made Fiona one of Cumbria’s best known female live performers now.
Fiona has played Nine Standards, Brampton, Ravenstonedale, Solfest, Kendal Calling and is also well known at Penrith Playhouse’s Plug & Play sessions.
I particularly enjoyed her performance of Alice in Cafe No.15 when she was playing solo. Now she is lead singer with the Alston Band ” Room Full of Owls”.
The themes in her songs are often surreal and there’s an air of vulnerability about her Folk-synth ballads that sometimes makes me wonder how she can be drawing sufficient breath to sustain herself as well as her vocals, and quite where the song will be going next. Any fears are misplaced, as she is well in control of the complexities of her highly individual and emotive music.
Laura James’ musical style is also emotive, but more in the popular vein with streaks of folk. She describes the ambience as “hippy” and that ties in with her sources of inspiration, her musical father, her love of art (Klimt), floral motifs and flowers generally. She demonstrates great strength and flexibility with her notes – her voice is soft, gentle but strong with steady highs and solid lows and easy falsetto. Laura James had us all hooked and rooted to our seats mid sound check! She has the looks to go with her sound too.
Good luck to all involved.