by Matt Kelchner
On Friday night, one of Philadelphia’s newest venues played host to a two act show that showcased songwriters on almost complete opposite ends of the spectrum. Making their way up from southern Virginia was a subtle, rootsy three piece band who went by the name Twain. Rounding out the other half of the two band bill was Teitur, a solo musician from the Faroe Islands of Denmark who writes his own brand of poppy, hook heavy singer/songwriter tunes. Paired together, they made up for a pleasant and interesting night that showed just how good putting two opposites together can be.
Twain is led by Mat Davidson, a former member of The Low Anthem, Annie & The Beekeepers and Spirit Family. On his own he creates beautiful and sincere tunes that blend folk, Americana and country. After hearing a few songs, similarities to Two Gallants quickly came to mind, only with a soft, delicate voice. Twain is currently celebrating the release of their latest album, Life Labors in the Choir, which came out last Tuesday. Davidson and company played several songs from the album, like the opener “Are We In Heaven?” and “Old Blue”, and mixed in older songs as well.
Each song had a slow moving, molasses-esque feel to it that gave it a perfect lazy Sunday afternoon feel. Davidson’s nimble finger picking matched up with the stripped down, bare bones drum beats and bass lines flawlessly song after song. On center stage were Davidson’s lyrics. Deeply personal and introspective, it was easy to tell the heartfelt emotion behind every line. Twain ended their night with Davidson standing on stage by himself, performing one final song solo. There’s a feeling in me that it will not be long until songs start finding their way onto WXPN.
Rounding out the night was Teitur. With a simple setup that saw Teitur Lassen switching between keys and acoustic guitar, along with a drummer playing what appeared to be one of the smallest drum kits ever. Here in the US Teitur may not be the biggest star, but outside of the country is a different story. Teitur has won several Danish Music Awards throughout his career and has been touring internationally since his debut release in 2003.
Similar to Twain, Teitur was also touring behind a new album, Story Music. The record’s title is a perfect way to describe the experience of seeing Teitur live. Behind every song there is a story and many of those were told Friday night. His lyrics take the spotlight in many of the songs. Their poetic delivery is mixed with Teitur’s strong sense of knowing just the right hook to sink into each song. The selection of songs gave the a taste of the six album long discography that Teitur has written so far. Songs like “Betty Hedges”, “Home” and “Catherine the Waitress” had the crowd singing along. He also added in a number of songs from Story Music as well. The highlight of the set came when Teitur went into a full on yacht rock version of “You Never Leave LA”.
The two songwriters takes on storytelling demonstrated the range of differences in both lyrics and tones. Yet it was these differences that made the pairing so memorable. While the two acts may never cross paths again, joined together Teitur and Twain made for a great night Friday.