Julia Fordham

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Julia Fordham

Feinstein’s at the Nikko, San Francisco, CA, October 13, 2017

Reviewed for Cabaret Scenes by Steve Murray

Julia Fordham

The faithful made their annual pilgrimage to Feinstein’s to see British singer-songwriter Julia Fordham who performed selections from her latest CD, The Language of Love. With a remarkable body of work spanning over three decades, she remains as relevant today as her first hit, 1988’s anti-apartheid “Happy Ever After.” With her smart, emotionally honest lyrics, multi-range voice, and knack for writing hook-driven melodies, Fordham is mesmerizing.

Backed by longtime collaborator Grant Mitchell on keys, Fordham opened with a quartet of hits: “Lock and Key,” “Falling Forward,” “Girlfriend,” and “Your Lovely Face.” Her operatic contralto was in perfect command, clear and agile when she quickly moved between registers. Accompanying herself on bells, shakers and, of course, the acoustic guitar, Fordham songs are beautifully composed, with the typical pop verse and choruses, but augmented by complex bridges that elevate her from pop diva to serious artistry not unlike Joni Mitchell.

online pharmacy buy azithromycin no prescription

Fordham does come from the golden age of female singer-songwriters: Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Janis Ian, Carly Simon, Emmylou Harris, and Kate Bush, to name a few. Fordham reeled off hit after hit and continues to write new material, presenting two new pieces: “The Morning After (A Night with You)” and the brand new, as yet unrecorded “Angel Island.

” The former is a heartbreaker about a woman not asked to stay after a night of love-making; the latter a historical look at Japanese picture brides arriving in San Francisco around the turn of the century.

I overheard Fordham telling a fan that her songs were “meant to break your heart and make you cry” and, indeed, there is a longing, aching texture that drives many of them. “Girlfriend” is just such an example: an old flame begging to be held by her former lover when she’s in distress. Her cover of 10cc’s hit “I’m Not in Love” is right in her emotional wheelhouse. The 13-year-old Julia was awkwardly experiencing her first dance to this song when, internally, she was processing how incredible the music production was. Her career was established right there. “Eleanor Rigby” and Sting’s “Fragile,” two covers from The Language of Love CD allow her to share her takes on modern classics.

The sold-out house listened in rapt attention to every note.

Grant Mitchell’s lovely piano augmented Fordham’s melodic flows. She reached way back to her first self-titled CD for “Invisible War,” presented as a hope for a change in the U.S. political climate, and her “anti-Anthony Robbins” rosy picture mantras were displayed in “Under the Rainbow.” By the encore of 1992’s “Love Moves (In Mysterious Ways),” the spell had been cast and one left totally moved in many ways by this very special artist.

online pharmacy buy valtrex no prescription

Fordham is a touchstone; she stands alone among the currently performing artists presenting a standard for others to aspire to. Her songs sink into your soul and stir deep emotions, which is the point of great art.

Steve Murray

Always interested in the arts, Steve was encouraged to begin producing and, in 1998, staged four, one-man vehicles starring San Francisco's most gifted performers. In 1999, he began the Viva Variety series, a live stage show with a threefold mission to highlight, support, and encourage gay and gay-friendly art in all the performance forms, to entertain and document the shows, and to contribute to the community by donating proceeds to local non-profits. The shows utilized the old variety show style popularized by his childhood idol Ed Sullivan. He’s produced over 150 successful shows, including parodies of Bette Davis’s gothic melodramedy Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte and Joan Crawford’s very awful Trog. He joined Cabaret Scenes 2007 and enjoys the writing and relationships he’s built with very talented performers.