Sunday 6th October 2013 – Whelans, Dublin
Back in April this year, the highlight episodes of the last season of Later . . . with Jools Holland, featured some brilliant and well established acts like indie rockers Suede, Cat Power and the up and coming Laura Mvula . . . but it was a complete unknown called John Fullbright that completely stole the show.
John Fullbright is a 23 year old country folk-rock singer from Oklahoma in the US and the performance of his own song ‘Satan & St. Paul’ was stunning and definitely the shining light of that nights entertainment. The song features on Fullbright’s debut album ‘From the Ground Up’ which was released last May. The song itself was so good, it beautifully portrayed John’s incredible wasp of a voice, an earthquake of emotion oozed from every note.
Fulbright has spent that last 12 months touring. He’s been on the road pretty much constantly plugging the album and last Friday night he played Ireland for the very first time. Dublin’s famous Whelans of Wexford St was his choice of venue for the gig and it was probably one of the only times that chairs were placed on the floor at a gig there. An all seated gig at Whelans was quite unusual.
Playing support tonight was Amy Speace, another folk singer from the US. The centrepiece of her new album ‘How to Sleep in a Stormy Boat’ is a song called ‘The Sea & the Shore’ on which Fullbright takes the stage to duet with her. His stunning voice takes over the whole song and the song receives an impressive introduction round of applause from the grateful crowd.
At 9.15pm John Fullbright takes the stage for his own set and jumps straight into a song from his album called ‘Jericho’. It’s got a Ryan Adams type feel to it, very Americana, an excellent track that would not have sounded out of place of Adam’s 2001 ‘Gold’ album. Most of the first half of Fullbright’s set sees him playing keyboard and with some aplomb. He’s an incredible pianist and later on the second half of this set we see his impressive guitar playing abilities too.
Other songs of note the evening were the aforementioned ‘Satan & St. Paul’, ‘When You’re Here’, the acoustic guitar based ‘Gawd Above’ with its rising chorus, and ‘The First Time’ which he introduces as the very first song he ever wrote without playing an instrument.
It was an excellent nights entertainment and one where John Fullbright’s raw talent shone. He’s hoping to get straight into the studio at the end of the tour and start writing new songs for his second album. That is definitely something worth looking forward to.