Music

Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker's Evocative and Somber Folk Stirs NYC

Ahead of the release of their album Overnight, Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker make a short run through the U.S.


Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker
City: New York
Venue: Rockwood Music Hall
Date: 2016-09-08

Of the two, Josienne Clarke basically does all the talking (she also does all the singing). Between their set at Hi-Fi earlier this year and the first of two nights at Rockwood, Ben Walker only offered a quiet affirmative to a comment Clarke made about sexual objectification being the band's raison d'etre. He's just super quiet while Clarke's banter is laced with her sardonic wit. At Rockwood, when someone in the audience called out for a song, she shut the request down -- if it wasn't on the set list, it wouldn't be played. She also aired several chips on her shoulder, which includes the "objectifying" lads, but said in Clarke's gentle voice the audience might sense she's (somewhat?) facetious.

Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker's forthcoming album Overnight comes out October 14th on Rough Trade Records. Clarke had been asked, "isn't that a punk label?" Her reply, the band is "corduroy punk", which makes sense. The soft ridged fabric is like their delicate folk music set in Clarke's raised teeth.

The British folk duo's plaintive music has earned them comparisons to Joni Mitchell or Fairport Convention. Clarke's stirring voice intertwines with Walker's delicate guitar to forge evocative but rather solemn songs. And over the hour long set at Rockwood, Clarke and Walker performed a mix of covers (a lovely take on Gillian Welch's "Dark Turn" and Nick Drake's "Time Has Told Me"), traditional songs (including a Edward Elgar's classical piece "As Torrents in the Summer") and their own evocative songs. The highlights included the stark "Fotheringay" (a Sandy Denny song) and the chilling closer "Done".

Check out a few photos and their upcoming tour dates below including another night at Rockwood in NYC.

TOUR DATES

09/09 New York NY @ Rockwood Hall – Stage 3

09/10 Philadelphia PA @ Tin Angel

09/13 Toronto ON @ The Dakota

09/16 Bloomington IN @ Lotus World Music & ArtsFestival

09/17 Chicago IL @ Hungry Brain

09/18 Milwaukee WI @ Colectivo Back Room

09/19 Minneapolis MN @ Turf Club

Hi-Fi Bar in February

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