I’m not sure exactly how old Florance is, but she came to recording and releasing her music late in life. I’m willing to bet that the 50s influences that percolate are something with which she grew up. Not that age is of any concern other than in the experience it brings, and there’s certainly a sense that the London born, Norwich-based singer-songwriter and guitarist knows life from the inside out, often conjuring a Cohenesque feel to her acoustic, retro-sounding meld of folk, blues and Americana, notably so the opening I Told You My Troubles and A Better Song’s duet with Richard Pierce who provides a spoken echo of her sung lines.
Elsewhere, another audible influence is Edith Piaf, her Gallic chanteuse style firmly in evidence on Little Black Cloud while thoughts of classic country stars Patsy Cline and Patti Page respectively come to mind on the likes of the carousel-swaying Take A Little Time’s reminder to take time to appreciate the wonders of the world and the similarly mandolin-accompanied waltzing The Wedding Song which is reprised in instrumental form as the closing track. There’s also a lovely Love Letters touch of Ketty Lester to the dreamy 50s doo wop of A Room Of Your Own which features Greg Camburn on alto sax.
Reminiscent of Dolly Parton on the gradually pace-gathering Carried Away, her soft, warm and vulnerable voice has you melting into the songs, most of which address matters of the heart with love, loss and longing, the latter poignantly captured in When The Past Came A Callin’ and the strings-embellished Bring Me That Sweet Thing Called Love.
Unfussy, simple and heartfelt, it’s one of those albums that curls up in your lap when you need a little comfort and leaves you ready to face the day anew.
Review by: Mike Davies
‘This, That & The Other’ is available via Folkstock Records – official release: The Straw Bear Festival Jan 16th 2016
Order it via Bandcamp here