Live: Po’Girl @ Holywell Music Hall, Oxford


Photo by Sarah Rhude

Po’Girl stem from Canada and comprise Allison Russell, Awna Teixeira, and Benny Sidelinger. Allison and Awna both have incredible voices and produce incredible harmonies, yet as multiple instrumentalists they bring to their showcases a wide array of instruments that include gutbucket bass, accordion, clarinet, banjo, dobro, guitar, electric bass, glockenspiel, piano, and drums which they swap around at ease. Considering Sidelinger makes guitars with his own hands, it is clear they all breathe, live and love music to the core.

Tonight this love affair is obvious. They are as surprised to play at the oldest music hall in Europe as the crowd is to see their permeability. Their music is so flexible it can go from gospel to country, blues, jazz, pop, melodramatic songwriting and folk.

Having released their fifth album in January 2010, Follow Your Bliss, recorded in Chicago, Illinois, they present a concoction of tight harmonies and blissful tunes. JT Nero joins them as the fifth member of the band, in addition to their tag-along drummer and pianist. It is interesting to see, however, that JT Nero is much more engaged in their dynamic than the drummer is; the latter providing a source of distraction from these musicians that is quite difficult to miss. Nevertheless, their performance is flawless. Taking 3 or 4 ‘neither-here-nor-there’ songs out of the equation in this extensive repertoire, the rest of their work is immaculate, genuine and above all, full of life and dynamism: an astounding introduction to their current European tour.

Words: Liane Escorza

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