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24 September 2014

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Music Reviews

KT Tunstall performing at Norwich Arts Centre
KT Tunstall at the Norwich Arts Centre

KT Tunstall

Scottish singer/songwriter KT Tunstall is a current favourite with both BBC Radio 1 and 2, but will she be the next Dido or disappear like the dodo? Based on her stage presence at the Norwich Arts Centre, it could go either way.

New artists are funny things. They either slowly creep their way into your head, or a mixture of record company plugging and blanket radio coverage spears you directly between the eyes.

Lee Allen reviews KT Tunstall in Norwich

KT Tunstall is the later and judging by the varied mix of people in at the Norwich Arts Centre, it appears to be working very well.

Charlie Mars

But before the lady in question, we have Charlie Mars to listen to.

Born in Arkansas and raised in Mississippi, Charlie Mars is a marketing man's dream. Blonde hair, blue eyes and the rugged looks of a cowboy.

When he opens his mouth and sings, the sound of America pours out. I'm not talking New York or LA, but the deep South. Dusty tracks, late nights at the drive-in theatre and songs about the childhood sweetheart you let slip away.

Accompanied by just an acoustic guitar, there is something strangely compelling about Mars that forces you to watch.

For good measure he throws in a neat line in story-telling too. His self-titled debut album is out in April, I think we will be hearing a lot more of Mr Mars.

KT Tunstall

So to Miss Tunstall. If you don't listen to the radio, you may not be too familiar with the name KT Tunstall, but in the next six months I think it's going to be hard to avoid.

Born and raised in Scotland, KT has supported Brit Awards queen Joss Stone and completed a tour with world music favourites Oi Va Voi. Now with the release of her debut album Eye To The Telescope - she steps out on her own for a full tour.

Looking at KT and listening to her are two very different experiences.

Walking on stage she looks great in her little t-shirt, jeans and trainers. When she opens her mouth and speaks to the crowd - she sounds like an over-excited children's entertainer.

Her between song banter is excruciating and at times had me cringing, fortunately her singing voice more than makes up for it. With a full band behind her she belted out tracks from her album, Tunstall's vocals filling every inch of the room.

Most of the songs were pretty much straight forward renditions, except for a rather splendid version of the new single Black Horse And The Cherry Tree - where she layered her voice up using an effects pedal.

On the whole not a horrible experience, but I just wish she would tone down the banter.

Picture credit: Al Pulford/

last updated: 12/02/05
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