Beth Rowley, Gabriella Cilmi, Wallis Bird - Water Rats London

2008 looks set to be a promising year for "Up and coming" female singer songwriters with debut albums imminent from the likes of Laura Marling, Kat Flint and Emmy The Great. I had the opportunity this month to catch performances at London's Water Rats from three singers also likely to do well in the next 12 months.

Beth Rowley has recently released her "Violets" EP and is set to deliver her album "Little Dreamer" early in 2008. I watched two of Beth's Water Rats sets and both were very enjoyable. Backed by a keyboard player, drummer and two backing singers Beth's sets mixed new material with Jazz standards. The result was performances with a late night timeless quality as songs flitted between "Dusty in Memphis" period Dusty Springfield and more Gospel tinged tracks, helped by the excellent backing singers.

I see no reason why Beth shouldn't do well with her album. I can certainly picture it sitting on Sainsbury's shelves.I'm also positive a variety of TV appearances beckons. I'm sure "Loose women", "This Morning" and "GMTV" will all be knocking on her door soon.It's just a pity "Parkinson" is finished!

Australia's Gabriella Cilmi has her debut UK album released at the beginning of February. Gabriella's 2007 ended nicely with an appearance on Jools Holland's TV show, surely winning her countless new fans. However, the evening the show aired she was playing an early evening set at Water Rats to about 20 people.

Undeterred by the small audience Gabriella gave a very laid back performance, spending the majority of it seated, eyes closed, lost in her music. Gabriella has a few good tracks up her sleeve, especially "Sweet about me" so her album's certain to be a good un!

I had only given Wallis Bird's album "Spoons" a brief listen so wasn't sure what to expect from her live performance. I had in mind a fairly subdued affair with Bird bringing to mind Tori Amos, sat behind a keyboard,due to the piano heavy album opener. What I got was a rowdy little fucker as Miss Bird threw herself into her performance,thrashing away at her guitar whilst singing her heart out. Wallis was on top form, hitting us with several album tracks including "Counting to sleep", "6ft 8", "Moodsets" and "Blossoms in the street".

Time was of the essence as their was a club night starting straight after the set, which meant the headline act couldn't overrun.Unfortunatly Wallis was having a series of guitar disasters, broken strings flying left right and centre! This gave the show a slightly manic edge and was all the better for it. Wallis is a very entertaining performer and had the audience laughing on many occasions with her between songs banter.She certainly had the crowd on her side as they sang and clapped along throughout the set. I was pleasantly suprised by Wallis's performance and am glad I came with the wrong expectations.I've given her album several more listens since the gig so will be well prepared for future shows.
I sure this bird will soar in 2008 anyway!

(Taxi for Thomson...)

Visit the girl's My Space pages to check out their music...

Beth Rowley

Gabriella Cilmi

Wallis Bird

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