Often the most interesting kind of music is the kind that can’t be pinned down to a particular genre. This lets the sound define itself and it means your ears aren’t constantly playing ‘Where’s Wally’ with potential influences. Blanco White are just such music makers. According to their Facebook page, “Blanco White weaves together Anglo-American folk with an Andean and Flamenco sound.” What a bio. Kind of makes you go: WTF?
I had little introduction to the band before we ventured to Camden to see their first headline gig at Proud. The venue was abuzz with friends and family and the set up encouraged thoughtful listening. This was perfect for the support act, Stevieray Latham, whose intense, bluesy, acoustic sound required near silence and an appreciation for story telling. The crowd seemed warmed by his weaving narratives and he perfectly set the unique, label-defying vibe for the night.
Then came Blanco White, who were met with voracious applause and a muted, slightly misplaced “take your top off!” from somewhere on my right. Needless to say, people were enthusiastic for their debut. And, wow, did they deliver the goods! Josh Edwards’ crystal clear voice glided as effortlessly over a full folk band sound as it did over his skilful solo guitar parts. The band were apparently newly brought together and consisted of a mixture of friends from the Yucatan Records label. Between haunting violin lines, rich bass and use of a cheeky shaker, I couldn’t help likening them to Fleetwood Mac in all their passion. Not to mention an accordion! Lord knows where they found a competent squeezebox player, but here we have reverent respect for any and all unusual instruments, particularly if they are usually played by old men wearing braces.
The “Andean and Flamenco sound” was brought out by Edwards’ expert strumming and the use of a tiny guitar that I can only assume has some kind of South American homeland. Very refreshing to hear this under some heartfelt and downright poetic lyrics, that occasionally turned a bit Spanish as well. A highlight was “The Wind Rose”, which incorporated some actual real-life Spanish words, as well as beautiful picking and an infectious intensity. Another banger was “The Song Of Wandering Aengus”, which Edwards performed solo. I wish my mind were a video recorder so that I could show you exactly how haunting and stirring this was. Edwards is a captivating performer, if just because of his sheer, tangible enjoyment of the process.
I am majorly hyped for them to release some material (when I say hyped I mean I will check every single day and set up reminders on my phone and like them on Facebook and listen to their sessions on repeat). I cordially invite you to join me.