The distance between Los Angeles - Jana's native city - and West London roughly represents the chasm that divides Rock and Folk audiences. But as this gig at Chiswick proved, good music can always make light of stylistic differences. Faced with the prospect of opening up a three band bill for the MEC at Chiswick Town Hall, Jana Heller showed that by communicating with the audience from the start it is possible to project yourself, and more importantly your music to a hall roughly four or five times the size of your average folk club.
But then Jana Heller is more than your average folkie, drawing on her West Coast roots to come up with a rare mixture of the wry and the whimsical as she took us through romantic numbers such as Mad Waltzing, the sexual politics of Hunger But No Love, and the gently reflective Love Is A Temporary Thing. With a voice that effortlessly shifted from delicate phrasing to a searing warble that adds considerable pith to her lyrics, Jana's guitar and dulcimer based set proved to be the perfect foil for the heavy back beat of the latter part of the evening.
Her splendid acapella encore was more than deserved.
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