For more reasons than the antiquated shift of circadian rhythms to aide the last vestiges of farmers-turned-agribusinesses, for many, November 8th’s drizzling wet night was a handing over of freedom. As it became more and more obvious that it would not be ‘business as usual’ in the White House, many sullen faces on the left coast felt a step backwards and the painful realization that the security they were able to convince themselves of, was sadly just a “Fable and Fallacy”.
Before one can begin to heal from the wounds of duress they must first get through the stage of acceptance. For those ‘Bernie or Bust’ supporters or those aghast at the lack of attention received by a legitimate Libertarian party, Tuesday was just inevitability. While the other two parties played Dandy Shandy with the media, libertarian hopefuls joined the rest of us (non-party supporters) who realized long ago that there was no longer a person qualified for the role of leader of the free world; who actually wants the job.
So on a dreary Vancouver night when the world’s fate rests with either a buffoon or a sociopath, what better plan comes to mind over gathering up a couple of the people dearest to your heart, and under the guise of work let Tanya Gallagher’s beautiful voice echo the halls of your mind (and Backstage Lounge).
Arriving via Aquabus with enough time for a beer in the back room, we eventually heard the familiar Southern songstress that until Tuesday had only bellowed from our apartment speakers.
Fortunate to get a table to the side, the slick grace of Gallagher’s guitar work and silky vocals found itself battling the unmistakable CNN theme during the opening track of the evening.
Disappointed in the audacity of someone turning the television volume up during a live performance, rather than making any further scene we played musical chairs with a lovely couple that was hoping to get out of the range of the distracting ear pollution as well.
Affairs finally in order, the remainder of Gallagher’s set was ours for the consumption. Having essentially missed the product of Pensacola’s opening song “Slow Down”, thankfully the catchy new song “Dark Side of the Moon” failed to elude us. Potentially the catchiest song of her three-album catalogue “Dark Side of the Moon” is so new it doesn’t appear on the sensation’s newest EP Virginia, released just over a month ago on September 30th.
After starting with two unreleased songs Gallagher played some familiarity with the Ernest Hemingway inspired “A Farewell to Arms”. Reminded of the fact that she is a slacker whenever she plays the tip of the hat to the classic novel, Gallagher admitted to the crowd that due to having never quite completed the story set in World War I.
It’s on “Southern Soul” that Gallagher shows the quality that will set her apart from the rest. With a delivery akin to a late 60’s Joni Mitchell, the hair on the arms begins to raise in anticipation of the amazing delivery of the song’s chorus.
Few things in music mean more than the ability to transcend emotion from performer to audience. When Gallagher shares with the listener the difficulty of being on her own and away from her southern roots, even the most ignorant of listener absorbs the pain of homesickness flowing out of the young musician. One of her better songs recorded, hearing it live will crawl into your heart and evoke tears of compassion. On a night where her country displayed how severely divided it is, Gallagher showed the kind of strength that only someone perpetually separated from their loved ones could show.
The emotional night would go on to see a pride filled Gallagher introduce the song “Virginia” from the album Virginia while simultaneously watching the state of Virginia turn democratic blue.
Moments later and mid-title track, Gallagher would witness her home state of Florida be coloured in red.
Yet through the highs and lows of the night, Gallagher was the epitome of poise and resolve.
Happy to be playing a show that could serve as a distraction from obsessing over the oligarchy disguised as democracy, during a brief post-show chat with Gallagher she revealed that once she has achieved her (spring season) approaching PhD in forestry she plans to head back down south; at which point Vancouver will have lost a unique talent and magnificently transcendent young woman.
Gallagher is genuinely prolific, being that she played four tracks on the night that have yet to be recorded.
Of the four best songs on the night, “Dark Side of the Moon”, Southern Soul”, “Barren Land”, and “Magic”, three of them have yet to be put to wax. Considering one of the new songs was not being properly heard but the other three land in the top four on the night, it appears Gallagher is just now hitting her stride.
Just as her song writing talent is beginning to match her emotive transcendence the window to see her perform live in VanCity steadily closes. With plans to play Guilt & Co. on November 27th, and seats selling faster than U.S. Citizens rushing the Canadian border, the opportunity to be forever affected by the soulful siren of the South is slipping.