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REVIEW: Gabby Young And Other Animals by Rosanna Rothery

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 28, 2013

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AS Caro Emerald has proved, there is a great appetite for a contemporary twist on retro glamour. In her case, stylish, classy and sassy jazz-pop reminiscent of the divas of the 40s and 50s.

Gabby Young, who visited the Plough recently, is another singer who exudes a vintage vibe but gives it her own unique avant-garde edge. Hers, though, is a mash up of sensual jazz with circus swing, Balkan beats and gypsy folk.

Now whether Gabby ever becomes as mainstream as a Caro Emerald or an Amy Winehouse will, no doubt, depend on who champions her.

In the meantime her cult-sound is teeming with creativity that makes her a joy to watch and listen to. Her self-penned songs are delivered with a flamboyant, freaky floor-show that verges towards musical theatre or vaudeville. In fact everything about her exudes inventiveness from her quirky headdresses to her exquisite kaleidoscope-style CD covers.

It's the voice, though, that I find really stunning. On songs like the piercingly poignant, We're All In This Together, its emotive and tender. While, at others, it's melodramatic and powerful, veering towards operatic. It really hooks you in.

This was a show peppered with inventive musicianship, circus-style dancing, crazy antics from Gabby and her immensely talented side-kick Stephen Ellis and some inventive and atmospheric audience participation. It made for a novel and fun festival-type gig. More importantly, though, Gabby's words and voice held a poignant sincerity, something I hope she will never lose – however famous she may get.

Rosanna Rothery

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