I was interested to see Jenee Halstead, a Boston-based singer-songwriter, perform her own music and my patience was rewarded with her recent album release show at Club Passim. Having seen her perform in tributes to Linda Ronstadt and Alex Chilton, I knew that her petite stature belied a powerful voice, but was not aware of her songwriting ability.
She performed “Heart Song” as one of the encore songs at this show, and I love this lyric:
I’m gonna paint my old room red
I’m gonna show my mother’s love
I’m gonna say all the things I never said
That pushed us apart
I’m gonna let you love me no matter what
Halstead’s set started with a brief poetry reading by her best friend, Tara Skurtu, an award-winning poet. Apparently Skurtu has read her poems at each album release show of Halstead’s, and I loved the uniqueness of this set-up.
From there, Halstead and her terrific band launched into each of the songs from her Edge of the World EP, as well as older material. Her band — Sean “Seanny Mac” McLaughlin on bass, Eva Walsh on fiddle, Mike Levecq on drums, Hugh McGowan on guitar, and Karen Sarkisian on pedal steel — supported her well. I was glad to finally see Walsh perform because I have heard many positive reports about her.
Halstead related well to the audience, joking about squatting at the home of some friends for the past several months. She also made sure we saw her red, high-heeled pumps. They almost did not jive with her persona but looked great nonetheless!
The sold-out room was full of friends and family who showed Halstead a lot of love, which she deserved.
The first set of the evening was by Suzie Brown with her husband Scot Sax. I had also heard many good things about Brown and Sax and was glad to hear them. One of the original songs, “Heaven Forbid,” was about Honey Boo Boo selling Subarus. Also on the set list were a Fats Domino song, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody,” as well as The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” Very interesting choices!