Jonathan and I went to The Branch in Kemptville at the end of May to listen to Ann Vriend play. What an amazing evening that was. I meant to write about it sooner, but life tends to get awfully busy sometimes. Looking back, over a month, it rates as a night of spectacular music that was well worth the drive from Ottawa.
The restaurant bills itself as a "Listening Room" and they do not disappoint. After a fabulous meal, they offer to add the cover charge for the evening's music to your meal tab, if you are planning on staying, which is quite convenient. To encourage a pleasant musical evening, they pass out little note cards for each table to remind everyone that people are there to listen to the artist, not other's conversations. I was quite impressed when a particularly rowdy patron, who wandered in during the second set, was politely asked by the staff to quiet down. When he continued to disturb, he was talked to again, and left shortly thereafter. Now that is a venue that takes pride in delivering what it advertises. For someone who wants to actually hear music in a social setting it is a pleasant surprise to see a venue support the artist in their delivery.
Ann, on keyboards, played the songs from her album, "For the People in the Meantime" (that you can purchase at CD baby) and was accompanied by the amazingly talented musicians, Rooster Davis, and Peter Hendrickson, on drums.
Ann's voice is powerful, controlled and emotive, her keyboard playing is inspiring. Her songs paint a picture of the world as she sees it. It is a fascinating view. Ann manages to convey beauty, humour and pain with sincerity, not always easy. She, Rooster and Peter's playing meshed beautifully and leaving room for the others to shine during solos. You could tell they truly enjoyed hearing each other play.
We had contacted Ann before the show and asked if it would be o.k. if Jonathan came and shot. We don't want to be "those photographers" that don't consider the musicians or the audience. You know the ones; they are so wrapped up in the shot they interfere with the show. Jonathan was taking photos solo that evening, as in a small space, two photographers snapping could very easily distract from the experience. Shooting in a softly lit room, is a skill I haven't fully mastered yet, so we default to his experience. That said, there were some shots I would have loved to have gotten of the setting, as my eye is often drawn to things that are different than Jonathan's. The reflections behind the bar in particular caught my eye, maybe next time.
Enjoy the rest of Jonathan's photos taken that night. If you get a chance to hear any of these amazingly talented people, seize the opportunity. You will not be disappointed.