Cortney Tidwell

Luminaire, London, 1st August 2007

Featured Artists: Bjork  Cyann & Ben  Joan as Police Woman 

I always miss the support band. Unintentionally. Kicking off proceedings tonight was Ever Records label-mates Ungdomskulen's brand of ‘math-rock’. While they were augmenting the arpeggio I was up-ending my third cocktail at a local watering hole. Ungdomskulen and Courtney Tidwell are part of blissful indie label Ever Records - also home to Cyann and Ben as a satellite label of the K7! Collective. However, it was Courtney Tidwell I came to see, and with ten minutes to spare stumbled into a half-filled Luminaire.

Showcasing songs off her debut proper, 'Don't Let The Stars Keep Us Tangled Up', Courtney stutters then soars in the intimate but strangely empty, Luminaire.

I must admit I knew little of Courtney Tidwell apart from what I first heard on a 6Music live session and what you can find on her Myspace page (

There are obvious vocal comparisons to Bjork, but with classical training and further into her performance, Sunday’s singer Harriet Wheeler and sonically Mazzy Star in bed with Oceansize. With this amalgamation of influences you wouldn’t be amiss in assuming they might be difficult to pull together. And Courtney certainly lets the music do the talking; in fact the one interaction with the audience amounted to Courtney commenting on the unusual heat she was experiencing in London. So in parts the performance comes off a little impersonal, but drawn-in by the reverent silence at the Luminaire and her bands brew of heavy atmospherics, country-tinged acoustica and blues-blown Nashville soul, you can’t fail to be impressed. But it’s her dedication to the performance and genuine surprises that lets her music ebb and flow around you.

With artists like Courtney Tidwell, Feist, Cat Power, Joan As Policewoman, Joanna Newsom and the Cowboy Junkies upcoming Don’t Look Back performance of ‘The Trinity Sessions’ coming up, the state of female musicians pushing forward their own brand of beautiful music is in a very good state indeed. Consider me untangled.

Posted on 9 August 2007 by Bruce Earwaker

Tags: Cortney Tidwell  Gigs  Acoustic  Blues 

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