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Bethany Hayter @ Oxjam Music Festival

  • Written by Sub Editor

I love the way Bethany stands when she performs. I've always sat when I play acoustic guitar, so I suppose that when I see someone standing it shows that ease and 'calm' I mentioned before in my previous review of Bethany's work.

After the last gig I saw her at, she and I spoke and she said she would bring out some originals, so I was really excited about tonight. The first song she played was Amy Macdonald's 'This is the Life'. And she played it was brilliant, implementing a certain free time to the singing, rather than sticking to the very 'in time' feel of the original. She brought passion to it and finished with a rallentando, fading it out slowly.

And then she did an original! I really enjoyed this and loved the use of chords, the simple development between the F - C - G and Am (I think). What I thought was brilliant was the way the G chord (originally embellished as a Gadd4add6) became a fully fledged G major at the end, reflecting the power and ardour of the song's climax. It was really cool and her voice, as always, stunned.

She continued with 'Don't Look Back in Anger' followed by 'Someone Like You', both of which were great renditions. She played another song that I wasn't familiar, but it was a beautiful and stayed song, with the guitar part mainly gentle thumb strokes, allowing the arpeggios to ring into chords.

She finished with another original, which was very exciting because it required a different tuning outside of the standard E - A - D - G - B - E to become  D - G - D - G - B - D  making a G major chord. It was a slow and uplifting song, and she used the open capacity of the guitar being tuned a major chord to her advantage. Her voice was melodic and generous and the song rounded off her set nicely.