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Review: Mo Kenney at The QUEEN’S HALL, EDINBURGH

By Tom King, Southside and Old Town Living

This trip to the Queen’s Hall tonight was one of those real musical mystery tours as I was going to see and hear music from people that I just knew nothing about.

Opening the show tonight was Canadian singer songwriter Mo Kenney, and from the very brief information available online for the show, I was intrigued to find out how this award winning (four Nova Scotia Music awards to name but a few) artist not only sounded, but used words.

Mo came on stage bringing nothing but herself, a guitar and her music. Always I feel a brave thing to do as there is no hiding place once you start and from the very starts Mo came over as a very down to earth person with no star pretentions who simply just had to write this music and these words down for her own sake as much as any audience that would ever hear them.

Mo’s music is obviously driven by her native environment and her own personal experiences and many of her songs tap into the slightly darker sides of people’s emotions – loss, pain, fear, heartaches and break-ups but also there are songs of loneliness at times and solitude…space to think on your own (which Mo obviously enjoys).

Opening the set with “I Faked It”, and giving us other songs through her set that included “Telephones”, “Eden” “In My Dreams” and “The Happy Song” (the only happy song she has written we were told), Mo Kenney displayed what a fine observer of the world and people around her she is and what a skillful user of words to describe that we have in this songwriter.

Also great to hear at the end of the show was Mo’s tribute to one of her musical heroes, David Bowie, as we were treated to a great version of the classic “Five Years”. I hope that one day Mo gets round to recording that version. (NOTE: Mo has recorded “Five Years” on her debut MO KENNEY.)

I managed to catch up with Mo for a few minutes after her set and it was nice to chat to someone who was just so “ordinary” yet writes words and music that is anything but ordinary.

I also note on the Queen’s Hall website that Mo has been touring for six weeks with her good friend Rachel Sermanni. I was at Rachel Sermanni’s Queen’s Hall show last year, and it is obvious why these two “musical souls” should be friends.

This was the last show on this short Scottish tour, but I hope Mo Kenney returns soon.

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