16 Oct 2019
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  • Holly Arrowsmith - Gig Review: Holly Arrowsmith @ Fairfield House, Nelson - 22/08/2018

Holly Arrowsmith - Gig Review: Holly Arrowsmith @ Fairfield House, Nelson - 22/08/2018

23 Aug 2018 // A review by Jacquie Walters

A pure voice is hard to find. Such a voice underpinned by a soul that reaches out to mesmerise and enchant an audience is even rarer. Holly Arrowsmith provides just that combination, and at 24 years old she is already writing material that is rich, deep, and evocative.

Arrowsmith’s concert in Nelson as part of the nationwide tour to launch her new album A Dawn I Remember was one of the best performances by a singer-songwriter in an intimate venue that I can recall. 

Poised at all times, Arrowsmith knows just how much vocal punch to provide and when to let a moment of silence linger. She achieved that most precious of audience accolades – several seconds of hushed reverence at the end of a song – several times during the evening and the heartfelt and warm audience request for an encore was richly deserved.

Fellow singer-songwriter Amiria Grenell provided a delightful opening set and joined Arrowsmith on stage for several songs. It speaks volumes for Arrowsmith’s talent that Grenell, such an accomplished performer in her own right, is happy to play support for Arrowsmith, who Grenell fulsomely acknowledged as a prodigious emerging talent.

Multi-instrumentalist and backing singer Phill Jones provided the third element to the evening’s sonic landscape. His musicality is an asset and definitely enhances Arrowsmith’s set. His banjo playing in particular added to the hint of Americana in the material. Love Together was especially delightful and the audience, many of whom are parents, responded with a ripple of recognition as Arrowsmith sang about having children one day “we’ll teach them a little but mostly they’ll teach us”.

That being said, Arrowsmith is well able to command the audience’s attention on her own as her short solo set amply demonstrated. Her version of The Last Time I Saw Richard was quite simply the best cover of a Joni Mitchell song I have ever heard (with apologies to the amazing Julia Deans).

Arrowsmith originally hails from Arrowtown and a deep love of that landscape and of nature and natural rhythms in general provides a strong theme throughout her material. The Gardener and Farewell were particularly evocative, although it’s difficult to single out just a couple of songs out for special mention as the entire set was absolutely beautiful.

Aotearoa/New Zealand is truly blessed with talented singer-songwriters. Holly Arrowsmith can certainly stand head held high amongst the best of them. See her in concert if you can.


Review written by Jacquie Walters

 

About Holly Arrowsmith

"This is the kind of C&W meets folk that strips everything but the honesty away, and what your left with will leave you trembling."
-Scott Kennedy (The Source)

Holly Arrowsmith is the new name in Folk that could be worth keeping your eye on. This South Island songstress has been turning heads all over New Zealand lately- and rumour has it, there is something different stirring in her acoustically driven, soulful sound. Arrowsmith's poetic, thought provoking lyrics, combined with her distinctively haunting voice, give you something pretty special, according to 'The Source'.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Holly Arrowsmith

Releases

A Dawn I Remember
Year: 2018
Type: Album
For The Weary Traveller
Year: 2015
Type: Album
The River
Year: 2013
Type: EP

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