Monday 25 April 2016, 8pm
Long overdue return to OTO for folk, country, and avant-garde legend, Kath Bloom, appearing as one half of a double bill with the great American Primitivist guitarist, Glenn Jones.
“I don’t believe in God, but I do believe in Kath Bloom and like truly great artists she is operating on a higher level than the rest of us but she is willing to pass on some of what she knows if you let her music come.” – Louder Than War
“Glenn Jones has a purist's mastery but an inventor's imagination” – The WIRE
The daughter of world-renowned oboist Robert Bloom, Kath was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, where she trained as a cellist.
However, she soon gave away formal musical education for the acoustic guitar, which she taught herself over long afternoons spent among the tombstones of her local cemetery.
After a time working with conceptual artist Bruce Nauman, Kath met avant-garde guitarist Loren MazzaCane Connors in 1976, teaming up with him for a series of now highly sought-after recordings of traditional blues and folk songs and Bloom's originals.
Some records were released in editions of as few as fifty, most no more than 200 copies, until the duo released their Swansong Moonlight in 1984.
After a period of child-rearing, family life and daily financial struggle, Kath began to return to songwriting and recording in the early 90s, revealing a mother-of-three songwriter as accomplished and affecting as any of her more acclaimed colleagues such as Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch or Hazel Dickens.
In 95' Richard Linklaker's inspired use of her song 'Come Here' in 'Before Sunrise' introduced kath to a new generation of fans as did 'Loving Takes This Course' two disc set, featuring one disc of covers (Bill Callahan, Josephine Foster, Devendra Banhart) and one of the original versions of Kath's songs is as good a place to start as any.Bloom is a tiny, wiry, mature woman, that strums with a claw-like hand, wearing a belt of harmonicas that she switches to match the chords of each song. Closer to fellow outsider Michael Hurley than enigmatic female folk acts that fell off the map like Judee Sill or Karen Dalton, but in her prime her vocal power is reminiscent of Peel favourite Sandy Denny.
Glenn Jones is a unique voice working in the decades-long tradition of American Primitivism. What sets him apart from the many devotees to this style is the combination of expressive playing and technical skill, most significantly his inventive use of alternate tunings and partial capos. As anyone knows who has seen him perform, Glenn is a remarkable storyteller, and his songs reflect that talent. The songs on Glenn’s latest, My Garden State, are evocative and redolent, and serve as a testament to Glenn’s talent for conveying a wide array of emotions, many times in one song, without saying a word.