Live Review: Maya de Vitry + Joel Timmons, Green Note, London – 21st April 2024

Picture by Richard Parkinson

An unusually cold April evening saw a good-sized crowd gathering at the Green Note on a Sunday evening to see the return of Maya De Vitry to North London. De Vitry, accompanied on guitars and backing vocals by Joel Timmons, had last played the venue ten years ago as part of The Stray Birds and quite a few of the audience had also been there.

Opening up the first set with ‘What The Moon Said’, from her first solo record, ‘Adaptations’, De Vitry set the pace for the evening as a whole. The song features a strong lead vocal, classy harmonies and an imaginative guitar solo from Timmons. They then ran it straight into the more up tempo ‘Taking Up Rock & Roll’ complete with Chuck Berry like fills. ‘How Bad I Wanna Live’ was preceded by a tale of a death-defying but more pertinently life-affirming hike taken by De Vitry and her partner in Hawaii on Timmons’ recommendation. And life-affirming was definitely the mood of the performance.  After ‘Infinite’, the title song from her E.P. of last year, De Vitry picked up her fiddle and the duo did one of Timmons’ songs celebrating his home town in South Carolina. Prior to the first set closer, De Vitry told us about the demise of The Stray Birds and the stresses of starting over. She’d worked at a coffee shop in Nashville where the positivity of the manager had inspired her to pursue who she was. ‘Stacy, In Her Wedding Gown’ was as celebratory a thank you as you’re likely to hear.

Photos: Richard Parkinson

De Vitry kicked off the second set with The Stray Birds’ ‘Best Medicine’ before turning out a banging version of ‘The Odds Of Getting Even’ a co-write with Caitlin Canty which featured on Della Mae’s ‘Headlight’ album. She proceeded to tell us about growing up in Lancaster PA – the Amish washing lines and music around campfires as well as the family dog Georgia, the subject of ‘Dogs Run On’, which managed to combine joy and loss. After ‘Anyone At All’, extolling the introvert’s love of isolation, De Vitry Introduced a new song – possibly ‘What I Need Now’ – which she’d thought unfinished until she played it unaccompanied supporting John Craigie on a North European tour earlier this year and realised all it needed was an audience to play it to. The fiddle was broken out again for another Timmons’ song , the slightly tongue in cheek, ‘Thank You For Breaking My Heart’, complete with sing-along chorus. De Vitry stuck with the fiddle for ‘Margaret’, a song celebrating her late grandmother who died in October 2023 at 92.

Photo: Richard Parkinson

The set and the show closed with a gospelly ‘How Do I Get To The Morning’ with both Timmons and De Vitry throwing themselves into vocals and guitars.  Called back for an encore, De Vitry introduced us to another new song – possibly ‘I Don’t Want To Go There Anymore’ which will be out in July.

They got a rousing reception from the Green Note audience and De Vitry seemed genuinely moved to find a full room on a Sunday night after a long break. The duo have played a lot of shows together and the artistic chemistry is noticeable throughout.  Song selections from across her career to date and a fine sense of dynamics in the set construction and performances sent everyone feeling very warmed into the cold night.

About Richard Parkinson 129 Articles
London based self-diagnosed music junkie with tastes extending to all points of big tent americana and beyond. Fan of acts and songs rather than genres.
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