I arrived at Birminghams fine songwriters night a little late having spent a couple of hours cooking something approximating a cottage pie to make some inroads into the piles of organic veggies we have building up from our weekly delivery from Able & Cole.

As a result I missed the Fake Sheik but as it turned out we had met once before – in the kitchen at a house party of our mutual friends. Small world.

Im happy enough going to good music and comedy gigs on my own (Lyndall having pulled a late one) and just sit and enjoy, but in any case bumped into some friends straight away. We ended up chatting a bit which was great in one way, but I was a bit uncomfortable at the same time. Its an odd one chatting at a music gig – on one hand much of the room was already chatting so it didnt make much difference that we joined in, but still, in future I’ll try and keep it to the intervals.

The act onstage when I arrived was Teresa Donohoe and I only caught the last two or three songs but it was intriguingly atmospheric stuff – rather Bjork-esque and kinda odd. Could be quite unsettling and interesting on its day, tho the rather large crowd wasnt paying much attention.

It quickly became obvious that most of the audience had come to see Tara Chinn – a local act from Kings Heath itself and daughter to local historian and personality Carl. Although it was very much a “family and friends” audience I couldn’t fault Tara’s strong voice (despite some flu) and strong, engaging stage presence. Her songs have a country-ish tinge (some were written in the States – United that is, not “altered”) and the two guitarists accompanied her sensitively.

It was then the turn of Miss Martin to suffer somewhat from having to follow not only such a big performance, but also to be heard over the chatter which had started up again. The group were noticeably less confident onstage but have every reason to gain much more. Have a listen to their myspace page and you’ll hear some strong, well produced songs and a rich voice. The accompaniment was good too – some nice licks and percussive flourishes from the guitarist and some angelic vocal additions.

All in all, another fine night for Bohemian Jukebox which hasnt disappointed me once on a number of recent visits. The line up for the next show is announced – Ben uses myspace very well – go to the page here and you can not only see the line up for the next show but scroll down to the “top friends” section and you’ll see his four top friends are next weeks acts – so their tunes are only one click away. Clever eh? Have a listen.

Birmingham Music Reviews

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