Damien Jurado + Dana Garvanski, FolkeStone Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 1st March 2020

During his outstanding set, Damien Jurado mentioned that it was the first time he had played in Folkestone and he apologized to the local members of the audience for his prior belief that it was only a jetty and not a town.  The venue he played in – the Folkestone Quarterhouse – is at the heart of the Creative movement in Folkestone, focusing on the arts, music and theatre.  It provided the audience an intimate friendly space to absorb Jurado’s songs about longing, loss, love, illness and death.

Jurado played solo with guitar, focusing on his latest two albums with a minimum of chat with the audience until later in the set.  Highlights of his set for me were ‘Over Rainbows And Rainier’, ‘Reel To Reel’, ‘Allocate’ and ‘Newspaper Gown’, but the entire show was beautifully presented with every number delicately performed (apart from one song he decided not to play as he couldn’t recall the chords).

Despite it being very windy outside inside it was so still in the venue you could hear Jurado’s foot tapping along with his music.  He was able to hold the audience in his hands throughout his performance as people reverently listened.  He was appreciative of the affection shown to his music and noted the quietness of the audience during his songs as this was the last night of a brief two week tour in the UK.  Near the end of the set he introduced a new song, ‘Birds Tricked Into The Trees’, before telling us that he would be announcing the following day that he has a new album (What’s New, Tomboy?) coming out on May 1st.   I feel fortunate to have been able to experience such a talented musician who appears to be in a purple patch of good form with his recent releases.  The only downside apart from having to drive back to London is that I feel the urgent need to delve into Damien’s lengthy back catalogue to explore and the impact this will have on my bank account.

The support came from Dana Gavanski, a singer songwriter from Canada who was supported by James Howard on guitar along with a mini drum machine for some of the songs.  Hers vocals were reminiscent for me of early Laura Marling or Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies on her understated songs detailing relationships and telling truths.  Her own songs matched the beauty of the Tim Hardin cover she played. She finished her set with a Macedonian song, “about yearning” that she had learned recently.  Despite my lack of Macedonian, her voice conveyed the emotions of the song perfectly.   Ms. Gavanski’s debut album, ‘Yesterday Is Gone’, is out on March 27th.  Do yourself a favor and seek it out or catch her live when she is touring the UK again soon.

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