Julie Byrne

at Summerhall

* * * * -

A distinctive and haunting voice that delights the audience at Summerhall.

Image of Julie Byrne
Note: This review is from the 2017 Fringe

Not Even Happiness is the latest album from New York singer/songwriter Julie Byrne. All 9 tracks showcase the brilliant talent and the distinctive voice of the musician. Tonight Julie is making her Edinburgh debut in the Dissection Room at Summerhall.

Support comes from musician and artist Duncan Marquiss. Duncan is an instrumentalist who uses a loop pedal to sample sounds and present his music. He uses his guitar in inventive ways and employs complicated tunings to create his interesting soundscapes. For Duncan a guitar can also be a percussion instrument and his unusual techniques and ideas go down well with the audience

Julie Byrne is a performer with a deep haunting voice that subtly crawls under your skin and leaves you tingling with goosebumps. She performs with an acoustic guitar, where her folk songs tell tales of love and longing. Her set tonight is mostly made up of tracks from Not Even Happiness and also her self titled 2013 EP. Stand out songs this evening include Melting Grid, Prism Song and the delicate and gorgeous Natural Blue. With each song Julie performs with a beaming smile on her face. She mentions that she feels comfortable playing in an intimate space and her finger picking guitar style and the hushed tones in her voice makes for a breathless concert.

Julie Byrne is joined by musician Taryn Miller (who performs under the name Your Friend). They have a nice dynamic where Taryn adds to the ghostly nature of the music and gives the brittle songs a more expansive sound that the audience clearly appreciates. Julie is on stage for slightly over an hour and could have continued well into the night. The set ends with another haunting and sublime track – Marmalade, from her aforementioned EP. This beautiful song is the perfect conclusion to a brilliant set from a songwriter who has an unparalleled ability to connect with audiences through her delightful music. Tonight’s concert is part of the Nothing Ever Happens Here series of gigs at Summerhall. With the Edinburgh Fringe ending soon, there are only a few gigs left before the end of August, but the live music will continue at the venue throughout the year.