Time Out con­tin­ued their Ris­ing Stars series with a bumper Xmas spe­cial ‘Best of Ris­ing Stars’ – six acts with a foothold in the music indus­try who are being reward­ed by see­ing their tal­ent and per­sis­tence start to pay off. Hold­ing the Ris­ing Stars series is a good move for The Jazz Cafe too, as it helps spread the word about the inti­mate Cam­den venue among a younger audience.

As Time Out says, the Ris­ing Stars nights “Fea­ture the fresh­est faces in blues, rock, coun­try and folk, this is the place to find your new favourite artist”.

I had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk to a few of the acts and it was abun­dant­ly clear that although some are in the ear­ly stages of their careers, all seem pret­ty savvy about the poten­tial pit­falls of the music indus­try, and are care­ful to sur­round them­selves with a sup­port­ive network.

Per­form­ing a hand­ful of her com­po­si­tions, Car­rie Haber on vocals and piano opened the evening. Her band includ­ed a cel­list and two back­ing singers, adding depth and atmos­pher­ic qual­i­ties. Her voice is some­thing of a chameleon: depend­ing on the song she can shift from grit­ty and force­ful, to a lighter tone for the pop numbers.

Just over from Nashville, Sonia Leigh (pho­to, above) and her band, have appeared at Ris­ing Stars before. She may be rel­a­tive­ly new to the UK, but she and her band have per­formed in the States for decades. Sonia deliv­ered a set of bluesy coun­try Amer­i­cana with a rock vibe, her vocals a warm, husky drawl. On stage, Sonia has an cool south­ern rock-chick atti­tude, and there’s a delight­ful con­nec­tion between the band mem­bers which made her set a plea­sure to watch.

The Bro­ken Witt Rebels have been on my radar since their first tweet arrived – a link to the instant­ly addic­tive Break Me Down. The Brum­mie band have been togeth­er since school, and the close­ness has paid off. It’s no won­der the band have already amassed a faith­ful and strong fan­base. Baby-faced front man Dan­ny Core has an utter­ly cap­ti­vat­ing soul-infused voice, dis­tinc­tive, heart­break­ing, loaded with emo­tion. And I should men­tion his charm – he has the audi­ence under his spell. Lead gui­tarist James Tran­ter adds some pow­er­ful riffs, although turn­ing your atten­tion to any­one oth­er than Dan­ny isn’t easy. I par­tic­u­lar­ly liked new song Get­away Man.

A solo per­former attract­ing a lot of atten­tion – in a good way – is blues singer-song­writer Dan Owen. For one so young, his voice – a deep tremu­lous rasp with shades of Joe Cock­er, comes as quite a shock. There’s an inten­si­ty to his per­for­mance as he hunch­es over his gui­tar, and the ten­sion keeps the audi­ence under his spell. Dan has just been signed, and has a tour com­ing up in April. I can envis­age him doing the fes­ti­val cir­cuit next summer.

* * Addi­tion… sor­ry I did­n’t review Emi­ly Lee and The Carn­abys, and I hope to catch both these acts again, hope­ful­ly at anoth­er Ris­ing Stars night. Here’s a mean and moody shot I man­aged to get of Jack Mer­cer of The Carnabys.

Carnabys Rising Stars

WHO: Time Out Best of Ris­ing Stars

Car­rie Haber, Emi­ly Lee, Sonia Leigh, Bro­ken Witt Rebels, Dan Owen, The Carnabys.

WHEN: Decem­ber 15th 2015

WHERE: The Jazz Cafe Camden

Ris­ing Stars nights return to The Jazz Cafe in January.

The line up: Mol­lie Mar­riott (daugh­ter of Steve Mar­riott), Alex Bay, Broth­er & Bones, Of Moths and Stars

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