Jo Harman - Hebden Bridge Blues Festival 2013
The Hebden Chapel was the perfect venue for headliner Jo Harman. Bestriding the stage, in front of the pulpit, she took ownership of the place and her Congregation just lapped it up.
The exciting thing about this singer is not just the sheer power and quality of her voice but the manner in which she uses it. Whatever the number - and the set contained a vast range of material - she brought to it all the subtleties and nuances that only a fine and accomplished artist can. Deep and heart-felt soul with drawn-out and movingly sustained power, stomping bluesy up-beat, the sparse and tender phrasing and even swinging jazz phrase elision were all perfectly pitched for the evening. The audience jumped from whooping and hollering to leaning forward and hanging on every word - and back again.
Although Jo is apparently lining up big audience venues, it seems to The Hat at least that this kind of gig - where she could almost touch the audience vocally - shows all her strengths and talents at their very best. Her involvement with her songs, as she is singing them, is tangible and her knowledgeable audience knew and understood that. Surrounded by a band of superbly professional and understated musicians who complemented her perfectly, Jo delivered a true Headliner's set.