Nancy Elizabeth quotes Radiohead, Bjork, and Joni Mitchell amongst others as influences on her solo style and all of these were in evidence in her performance at this very small Victorian theatre in Sheffield. The intimacy of the venue simply added to the personal feel of the music that Nancy Elizabeth performed. She was on her own on this occasion, but she has a small group of musicians who have been accompanying her on other parts of her current tour.

It is a very busy time for her right now with a number of dates around the UK and across Europe including Belgium and France over the next couple of months. She did tell us that she was a little tired after a long drive over the Pennines to the Lantern Theatre via the Snake Pass, but if she had not mentioned it we certainly would have been none the wiser. Each song flowed wonderfully and Nancy gave a short background story to a number of the songs, but without going in to too much detail and allowing each song to paint a picture. She played her own accompaniment on her acoustic guitar, a very battered upright piano and for one song she played some shaker bells and the back of a wooden chair! The rhythm played on the chair with a drum stick and the bells were an unusual, yet somehow perfect way to keep this very emotional song going.

Nancy swapped from guitar to piano regularly which kept the interest of the small but enthusiastic audience of 84 people who were lucky enough to get a seat. with maybe a dozen or so more in the standing room only area at the back and also upstairs on the small balcony. She played some songs a cappella. These songs were haunting and Nancy really showed on them her great vocal range. Her vocals left no emotion untouched. She had me laughing, empathising with her and almost once brought me to tears. I felt that I had been taken on a journey and was totally lost in the performance.

There were two outstanding songs for me from the evening. The first was 'Hey Son', an acoustic guitar song with a haunting melody which had an Enya feel. Even though she was performing this song from her 2007 debut LP, 'Battle and Victory', solo it had all the power of the album version with its bombastic drums and guitar. The other was 'Winter Baby' from her second and latest album, 'Wrought Iron', which Nancy described as her lullaby sleep song. We certainly did not go to sleep, but the tranquillity of the song got through to the audience.

Nancy Elizabeth is a fine performer who I will be certainly making time in my calendar for again in the future. Her relaxing, angelic style will touch even the hardest of listener.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken for Pennyblackmusic by Alan Taylor-Shearer

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