Daisy Vaughan at the Cleveland Arms, Paddington, 18 October 2017

Last night, my friend Tony and I went along to a pub in Paddington called the Cleveland Arms, to check out a singer who became one of my real favourites in 2015 and has stayed that way ever since. Her 2105 debut album “Light on our Limbs”  was a real joy. I put it at No 5 in my albums of the year  , but really, it could have been No 1. I said this about Daisy in my review of 2015 in music:

I must say something about Daisy Vaughan, who I only really discovered towards the end of the year. It’s a great example of how something just suddenly creeps upon you and becomes your next big thing. I’d heard a lovely track called “Earth Let Me In” on Marc Riley’s 6 Music show, made a note of it and then rather forgot it. But one evening I decided to catch up on all those notes I’d made – I write loads! I checked her album, “Light on Our Limbs” on Spotify. It was so beautiful I downloaded it immediately. And it became my new favourite, It’s a sparse, simple, fragile work – all those qualities I talked about earlier in this piece. She’s 18 and who knows where she’ll go from here. I hope the management don’t take hold of her and get her to do more pop/glam stuff, like has happened to Gabrielle Aplin and Ellie Gould, for example. Equally, that will make her money, so good luck to her if it does go that way. I’ll always relish this beautiful album, some of the loveliest songs I have ever heard.

It’s fair to say that she hasn’t gone the way of Gabrielle Aplin or Ellie Gould – in fact she has pretty much gone off the scene over the past two years. The occasional Facebook post about a one-off gig, but nothing else. In 2016, I almost got to see her in St Pancras Old Church, but the show was cancelled when the headliners had their equipment stolen while on tour in the US.

So I’d rather given up on her, although “Light on our Limbs” has continued to be one of my most played albums. It’s one that soothes you at the end of a long day – not bland, but peaceful, atmospheric, beautiful.

And then, one of those rare Facebook posts. She was playing at the Cleveland Arms. Initially, I wasn’t able to go, as I had another gig booked. But that got postponed to January, so Daisy it had to be. I enquired about tickets, but there didn’t seem to be any. It was just a gig in a pub. Seemed a bit of a come down for an artist who’s been well-acclaimed back in 2015, but I figured she might just be feeling her way back into public performance; and something low key, like this, suited her.

I think that was right call. The Cleveland is a nice pub – plenty of good, old fashioned features amid the modern refurbishments, and a decent range of beers. Daisy and her equipment were stuck in a sort of corridor between two rooms in the pub. When she started singing, a little nervously I thought, she seemed to be singing to the opposite wall. But the songs were lovely – a nice mix of songs from “Light on our Limbs” and quite a few new ones. The new ones sounded really good – a progression on the older ones, but evoking the same feelings. She was a bit hesitant at times and had a couple of false starts; but that hardly mattered – it was great to see her perform some of my favourite songs live, and, hopefully, take a step back into the limelight.

She played two sets, each about half an hour long. The crowd in the pub was very appreciative – quite a few looked like they were friends or relatives. In the second set she seemed to become more confident, so that by the time she sang “This Envelope” towards the end, she really was giving it the full vocal. That song, in particular, really came alive for me.

I had the chance to speak briefly with her as we left and said how much I’d enjoyed it. I enquired about a new album and a tour, but nothing seems to be fixed yet. She’s got some excellent new songs, so I hope we will be able to hear them soon. In the meantime, if you haven’t heard “Light on our Limbs”, I encourage you to check it out on Spotify or download it, or even buy the CD/vinyl. You won’t regret it

About John S

I'm blogging about the things I love: music, sport, culture, London, with some photos to illustrate aspects of our wonderful city. I’ve written a novel called “The Decision”, a futuristic political thriller, and first of a trilogy. I’m also the author of a book on music since the 1970s called “ I Was There - A Musical Journey” and a volume of poetry about youth, “Growin’ Up - Snapshots/ Fragments”. All available on Amazon and Kindle.
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