God Is In The TV > Reviews > Live > LIVE: Native Harrow – The Fulford Arms, York, 07/12/2021

LIVE: Native Harrow – The Fulford Arms, York, 07/12/2021

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Native Harrow are a folk-rock duo, hailing from eastern Pennsylvania in the United States of America but who recently relocated to Brighton, England. This show had originally been scheduled for January of last year but had to be cancelled after the band’s singer and guitarist Devin Tuel had succumbed to sickness. The no little matter of the coronavirus pandemic then intervened and it isn’t until tonight, nearly a full two years later, that she and her musical partner Stephen Harms are finally able to take to the Fulford Arms’ stage. But as Tuel explains to us this evening, the onset of a common cold had very nearly derailed this performance too.

There is a quiet determination about Native Harrow, though. That much is clear on their recent single ‘Turn It Around’, released in September to herald the commencement of this delayed tour of the UK and Europe. Written during the early stages of lockdown and appearing some five songs into this evening’s most delightful of sets, it speaks of Devin Tuel’s emergence from a period of deep introspection and uncertainty with a firm resolve to develop and improve.

And in many ways the sentiments of ‘Turn It Around’ reflect Native Harrow’s evolution as a creative force. They are now four albums into a recording career that stretches back more than six years and with each musical step their confidence continues to grow and their songwriting flourishes. Their most recent album Closeness – released in September of last year – not only lends its name to this tour but also affords Native Harrow the first sustained opportunity to perform its songs in public. It is a consistently impressive piece of work.

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Native Harrow duly open this evening with ‘The Dying of Ages’ – the second track on Closeness – and with it, Tuel and Harms set the scene perfectly for what is to follow. They take us on a carefully crafted, almost timeless journey through a past that is mined from the deep seams of American musical tradition. With its jazz inflections and Devin Tuel setting up just behind the beat, ‘Turn Turn’ comes to us inspired by the ghost of Billie Holiday. ‘Blue Canyon’ is a love song to California and nods towards many of those early 70’s west coast singer-songwriters, not least Joni Mitchell. And when Stephen Harms, a most versatile and quietly understated of multi-instrumentalists, shifts to keyboards, the eloquence of his playing brings readily to mind those exquisite, rolling organ swells achieved by Garth Hudson of The Band.

Yet for all that the music of Native Harrow’s music is both immersed in, and influenced by the past, the sound that they create still remains firmly of our time. Their first encore tonight – possibly one of the most politely requested encores ever – is latest single ‘Do It Again’. Performed in concert for the first time tonight and just like ‘Turn It Around’ before it, written during the lockdown, the song is very much located in the present day and for all of its resigned acceptance of our prevailing circumstances it does capture all of the iridescence and positivity that Native Harrow easily convey.

Photos: Simon Godley

More photos from this show are HERE

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