I was working in Deventer (dave-enter), a beautiful town of seventy something thousand folks who love book fairs & Charles Dickens, an hour east of Amsterdam, with colleagues from Tennessee, Brisbane, San Jose, Bogota, Solihull. Last evening, we headed out on the river to the Zutphen wine house tower, ate duck in apricot and smoked Cuban cigars with an Italian fella called Phil who looks like he’d been sent by the matrix to chase down the loading errors.
A few orange bitters later, we’re going round the table, each playing a tune we love. I throw ‘All The Beds I’ve Made’ from Caroline Spence’s sublime ‘Spades & Roses’ LP into the playlist where it follows a death metal cover of ‘The Sound of Silence’, some violiny trance & ‘Whiskey & You’ (Stapleton, not McGraw) so it’s a difficult slot, but the table stops talking, the smoke hangs heavy, fragrant & frozen in the warm Dutch air for four minutes, the music all that’s left. Here’s a sublime solo acoustic version:
Spence’s beguiling, naïve, weary, optimistic voice and her talent for weaving delicate, tender melodies with understated but masterful guitar haunts the riverside. She finishes, so the audience can breathe again. Reflecting about the hardest bed they ever made is all you can do when she’s just sung this to you. It’s not easy to get these drunken tourists to pay attention, but they do, such is the power of this beautiful record.
I’m asked to write down the artist name stroke album title on the back of a menu, tap it into a phone, say it again, Suh Puh Eh Nuh Suh Eh? Something like that, sweet, got it. This is one of those rare records you wouldn’t change, add, remove, shorten, lengthen, nothing. I can play it over & over. It’s Southeastern good. It has this weird innocence, sort of jaded, there’s experience here, but it’s also sweet, full of love and hope, but never sickly – it’s disarming, unsettling & tasty, like setting fire to a sugar cube soaked in absinthe. Here’s ‘Slow Dancer’ from the same beautiful solo set:
Rough Trade got hold of some vinyl copies of this album which she self released in the US- I’d strongly recommend having a word and getting yourself one because I reckon you, like me, will be playing this record for a while. And as if I needed more persuading, she went and did this on her social media:
One of the good ones. Hope you enjoy it.