Callaghan and Jesse Terry have toured together in the USA, so it made absolute sense for these two to tour the UK together.
Originally from the UK, Callaghan moved to Atlanta in summer 2010 to tour and record with grammy nominee Shawn Mullins after they connected via Myspace. Jesse has been touring the UK for several years, and has built-up an army of fans from London to Edinburgh and private house concerts in small villages. This was their biggest London show to date.
Jesse opened the night, accompanied by his UK touring guitarist, Alan Fish (The Attention Seekers). Clearly delighted to be playing to a packed house in the beautiful surroundings of Bush Hall, Jesse opened with Kaleidoscope, from his latest albums Stargazer and its stripped-back companion Natural. Jesse’s voice is that of a dreamer, a lover, a horse-whisperer, drawing you in and making you feel he’s singing only to you.
He is a great storyteller, both in his songs and when engaging with the audience. He introduced Noise as a song about loss, which people keep asking him to play at their weddings. His Empty Seat on a Plane is a love story all of its own, made even more poignant, as he was heading back to his wife who is expecting their first child. He will be back in the UK in the autumn and headlining St Pancras Old Church in London.
Bob Harris, who has long been an active admirer of Georgina Callaghan, or Callaghan as she is known, was there to introduce her. Playing with a full band, she opened her set with Surrender. Filling Bush Hall with her lovely clear voice, Callaghan was at ease moving between keys and acoustic guitar, playing songs mainly from her recent 3 EP’s and some cover songs.
She is more rootsy than the middle-of-the-road crowd crooners she might superficially resemble and has a distinctive Anglo-Americana style to her singing that sets her apart. She, too, is a storyteller, born out of all those 400,000 miles travelled across the vast USA.
She reminded me a bit of Rumer, the British/Pakistani singer who is often compared to Karen Carpenter, especially when she (Callaghan) sang the easy-listening standard Annie’s Song. There were many toes-a-tapping to the feel good songs Better Together, Crazy Beautiful Life and the closing song Best Year. The highlight for me was a new song, If You Miss Me When I’m Gone. The silence in the room was palpable. Stunning.
Callaghan will be playing BST Hyde Park on July 15 with Paul Simon and James Taylor.
Photography & Review by Marilyn Kingwill of Jesse Terry & Callaghan at Bush Hall April 2018