The Tuning Fork was full of warmth and happiness during the stormy Thursday night, all in apprehension to hear folk-pop tunes by local musicians Jesse Sheehan and Graeme James.
Wines were a flowing and anticipation was high for the night of music to begin. The crowd was a see of many happy faces overjoyed by company, and wrapped up warm and safe from the chaos occurring outside. These fans of folk certainly didn’t let the winter cold stop them from coming out and enjoying the live music.
The night began with Jesse Sheehan a man who carried his stories from songs so sweetly and warmed the room with his likability. He carried the crowd song by song with his truly beautiful voice. Sheehan’s ability to impress a room simply with his acapella vocals met with passion swept the audience into applause when each song came to its end. The most special moment was when he spoke of his friends birthday, leading to singing them happy birthday. It was a shared personal moment that felt like an insight into Sheehan not just being a peaceful voice but a loving friend. His story telling about his travels in England and exploration of pursuing music was told with such gratuitousness. Coming to the end of his set he showed of his vocal control and range alongside Graeme James on the violin, a collaboration that felt freely to the soul.
Beginning with just a single instrument and a head nod; Graeme James begins creating the backbones of his song through looping instrument by instrument as the audience watches in amazement at the level of talent that James has in his performance. He creates an orchestra of strings in mere minutes and evolves his sound string section; there’s no guessing that his talent for music speaks loudly from the beginning of his set. A loop master his layered folk sound creates the perfect backdrop for his sweet unique voice. The aura from his music was one of intimacy and connection a feeling created by the many components that come together to bring his joyful sound alive. James knows how to keep his audience happy and engaged as he plays through each song gracefully with immense build-ups cut to raw vocals and simple sound of his guitar. His ability to shift the mood so swiftly from being typically dynamic-folk to a intimate personal shared moment with just him and the audience is something spectacular to experience.
Its the last night of Graeme’s sixteen-date New Zealand tour; which he was met with mostly sold out shows, a testimony that speaks to both his talent and the passion our country has for folk sound. There is no questioning that his love for creating and performing is felt heavily amongst the crowd as they echo back with applause and happiness a reaction worthy from his performance.