January 12th, 2023 7pm Stage 2
The front cover of Irish born, Berlin based WALLIS BIRD’s new album features a black and white photograph of a hand. A cursory look might not reveal anything unusual, but it only takes a moment to recognise it’s no ordinary hand. In the shadows there’s a stump where the little finger should be, and something seems off about the other digits too. Some will understand its significance: they’ll have seen it strumming an upside-down, right-handed guitar, picking in unorthodox style, forming unconventional chords. The hand, you see, is WALLIS BIRD’s, and it’s there because, having spent much of her life trying to exist despite its restrictions, she’s reached a point where she recognises that, in many ways, it’s always been vital to her lived reality. With this has come a realisation of “who I am, what I am, and what I don’t want.” HANDS documents her subsequent process of change, and its consequences, with typically distinctive style, making it – hands down, naturally – one of the most honest albums you’ll hear at a time when honesty is at a premium.
Taylor Ashton is a Canadian singer and songwriter living in Brooklyn. He spent the first half of his twenties on the road across Canada as frontman of the band Fish & Bird before moving to New York to work on a new set of songs and a new chapter of life. His music takes influence from the cosmic emotionality of Joni Mitchell, the sage vulnerability of Bill Withers, the humour and heartbreak of Randy Newman, and old-time and Celtic folk music. Alternately accompanying himself on clawhammer banjo and electric guitar, Taylor croons poignantly clever lyrical insights while effortlessly gliding between a Bill Callahan-esque baritone to a Thom Yorke-like falsetto.
His full-length debut album "The Romantic" was released in early 2020, followed by a companion EP "Romanticize" featuring remixes, reimaginings, and new songs. His songwriting appears on albums by Watkins Family Hour, the Brother Brothers, Benjamin Lazar Davis and others, and he has released singles with Aoife O'Donovan, The Fretless, and Aerialists, as well as a moody acoustic duo record in 2018 with songwriter & guitarist Courtney Hartman. Much is in store for 2022, including at least one new album and more fruitful collaborations.