Monday 28 May 2012


Live Review

Glee Club, Birmingham

Regardless of Irish singer Gemma Hayes’ talent, she deserves respect for kicking Louis Walsh into touch. 

Gemma Hayes talented and witty
According to Gemma, Walsh approached her after a gig and suggested she make two changes to make them both plenty of money, one was stop writing her own songs and two, was date a celebrity to get in the tabloids because, according to Walsh, you are no one unless you are in the ‘Red Tops’. 
Fortunately Gemma said no to both requests. 
Gemma has a fantastic wit and the Irish sense of self-deprecation and, although she admits many of her songs are melancholic, somehow they don’t bring you down. 
With Keep Running Gemma hit the packed Glee Club audience between the eyes with the thumping strum of her guitar and her high pitch breathy voice which reminded very much of the great Joni Mitchell
In tunes such as In Over My Head, which she dedicated to Walsh, while it sounded like a lament, its hammering backbeat and Gemma’s silky voice gave it the lift it needed. 
With the simple acoustic ballad November, Gemma’s wonderful vocals were displayed in all their glory with her strong emotional tone in every line. Her songs really do have power and, for a petite woman, she hammers her guitars almost as hard as Christy Moore which seems at odds with the softness of her voice. 
She treated her fans to her latest single Shock to the System and Back of My Hand which seemed to have more than a touch of the emotional twang of Linda Ronstadt about it
One of the highlights of the night was her song Oliver, which is about a boy called Willie, but as she explained she couldn't keep singing Willie over and over. 
The story attached to it about childhood bullying and revenge still stings which was obvious as she almost apologetically related the story.
Gemma switched to the keyboard for Ruin which was a brooding ballad and then almost out of the blue she did an acoustic cover of Kate Bush's Cloudbusting which was excellent and she managed to make the version her own.
As an example of her witty observations when asked why she only writes sad songs she simply replied well when I am happy I go out.
Gemma has been off the scene for a while but it's extremely good she is back in full swing. Her latest album Let It Break is available now.

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