Folio Music

Wherein We Opine on KT Tunstall

… and myriad reasons to see her in concert


The Barenaked Ladies are playing here July 6. That in and of itself is not earth-shattering news. They'll probably sing the song with the Chinese chicken and the rug burn, the one about Brian Wilson and the Big Bang theme. What's cooler is that KT Tunstall is opening (along with Better Than Ezra, with that one really good song, ummm, “Good”). Tunstall burst on the scene in 2005 with Eye to the Telescope, which launched massive, massive hits like “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree” and the Ivor Novello award-winning (among other awards; I just like this one best) “Suddenly I See.”

She's released some albums since then, dealt with some life-changing events, moved from London to LA and is now back touring for her latest release, 2016’s KIN. Tunstall has a new album in the can, dropping in the near future. This upcoming Barenaked Ladies/Better Than Ezra/KT Tunstall show this Friday at St. Augustine Amphitheatre may not an event you were considering going to (because you’re too cool and shit), so let me see if I can talk you into shelling out the dough to see Tunstall, because she is fantastic (and you, dear reader, will have no regrets).

Her Voice is Grit Soul
Tunstall’s first real hit, “Black Horse & the Cherry Tree,” shows off her own Northern Soul style. As passionate as it is nonsensical lyrically, “Black Horse” lets Tunstall unleash the gruff and the growl. It’s a hugely successful song, sung by a highly talented voice, but neither are plastic. Plus, she has all those cool foot pedals she uses on this song sometimes (you can check it on YouTube if you don’t believe me). The video is great because, for some reason, David Gray and Ray LaMontagne are onstage with her, but they don’t do anything. Another great reason to go to the show: Try to get backstage and ask her what the hell Gray and LaMontagne were doing there.

Her Songwriting is Straight-Up Award-Winning
She hasn’t quite made it back to the plateau of recognition she had with Eye to the Telescope (the album went platinum in the U.S.; 5X platinum in the UK—really tough to beat), but she's earned quite a bit of critical attention with her earlier and more recent work. She was nominated for a Grammy, Brit and Mercury Music Prize. Any time you beat out the iconic Kate Bush for an award (the 2006 Brit Award for Best British Female Artist) you're doing something right. These are not rinky-dink awards for album sales or some nonsense. Here's what I'm getting at: If music critics and writers see fit to flash some gold/bronze/silver/platinum at Tunstall, you should shell out $44 for a seat with an obstructed view.

Her Live Show is Awesome
I saw her years ago in Atlanta. She's moved up in venue size, backing band and catalog, but her performance is consistently awesome. She interacts well with her audience, working in a little humor. Regardless of venue or backing band, though, her consistency lies in her talent and amazing voice. The St. Augustine show will have the same strong commitment, beauty and emotion as the show I saw in Atlanta.

She Will Dedicate a Song to You
No, I don’t know if she'll do that. She might, though. Maybe a Folio Weekly will be on an amp at sound check, and maybe she skims it and sees this story. If she does, maybe she'll dedicate the set to the folks who came to the show based on what I've written here. I hope hundreds of you go; it would make me feel good. And it wouldn't displease KT Tunstall, either.

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