Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 25/10/2011 | Sam Duckworth – The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

25/10/2011 | Sam Duckworth – The Jericho Tavern, Oxford

Lisa Ward


Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.’s front man Sam Duckworth is back with a newer sound and a different take on songs. Though his political edge still remains, 8888 inspired by the conflict in Burma and Angels In The Snow broaching the Chernobyl disaster and nuclear warfare, other new songs have more of a story telling element, less protest song and more parable. This includes what Sam himself describes as a ‘factually incorrect’ account of a scuba divers account of a quest to find a shipwreck and The Farmer, gallantly exploring the mindset of a doomed Dutch farmer.

There’s a ghostly wailing from Sam which haunts these newer songs, moving them from the sing-a-long looped pop of his earlier years, to emotive renditions that force you to sit and listen. Even the new songs which fit more snugly with the old (boasting prosaic lyrics of love and chorus’ which hook you in) seem fresh, the combination of Sam on acoustic guitar and Jay on electric culminating into a subtle yet striking sound.

Sam has never really written contemporary pop, or even nu-folk, instead falling into the crack in the middle and never quite reaching the acclaim he deserves. Yet songs like Clementine suggest he should be more widely known, and with the back story of internet black holes, and bees wishing to pollinate battling with seedless clementines, it become clear that Sam is not only capable of masterminding the music but also to observe the complexities and wars of the world, in a way many others fail to accomplish. Clearly not afraid to go against the grain, this perhaps accounts for his choice of Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly’s The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager (Part 1) which it striking with its stripped back, acoustic format and the outing of a new song The Joy Of Stress.

There’s no encore, no suggestion that he’s even stepped outside of venues the size of The Jericho Tavern and no obvious attempt to ignore his Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly history. Just a singer-songwriter who seems to enjoy connecting with his audience as much as he does playing songs. It has to be said that Glass Houses was the song of the night, combining intricate finger picking with arresting vocals. Nevertheless the subtle prowess of the rest of the night, suggest (as has always been the case with Sam’s music) the other songs will sneak up on you at later date and infiltrate your brain on some idle Thursday afternoon; like wine their potency increasing over time.


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