Review: Rumer, City Hall

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IT’S just over a year now since Rumer was catapulted into the national spotlight with the release of official debut album Seasons Of My Soul at the relatively senior age of 31.

And as she tells the City Hall audience, since then her life has changed in oh so many ways - so much so, she finds it difficult to explain in words.

By all accounts her early live sets were nervous, hesitant affairs, Rumer seemingly happiest when losing herself in music.

On this, her first major UK tour, she seems more at ease, with anecdotes and explanations to link songs and a solid six piece backing band.

Launching into Come To Me High and Am I Forgiven, both album highlights, things get off to a fluent start.

But with the Seasons album containing only 40 minutes of so of material, there are plenty of covers and works in progress to flesh out the 90 minute set.

She takes from the greats - songs by Carole King, Elton John and Gil Scott-Heron all feature, and a new album of songs from the 70s is apparently in the pipeline.

If there is a problem here, it’s that so much of her material has a similar tempo - more light and shade would be welcome.

Album highlights Aretha and On My Way Home bring the main set to a climax, with Rumer acknowledging the early death of her mother from breast cancer as the inspiration for the latter work.

But the encores include surprise selections - Laura Nyro’s American Dove is first rate, and Stephen Bishop’s Little Italy is also a real treat.

An entertaining night then - and no, there’s really no need to mention Karen Carpenter.

Mike Russell