Native Harrow’s music has been born out of almost incessant travelling, living in trailers and recording albums in their “downtime”. During their two-part gig in the Voodoo Rooms, this upheaval is acknowledged before slowly melting away throughout a soaring and moving folk performance. Native Harrow are gentle and inviting, radiating a warmth to their words as they evoke daydreams of peaceful places. Their music does not seek to electrify but does not hide behind showmanship either. This is a beautifully performed series of tracks backed up by effective instrumentation and tangible soul.
Singer Devin Tuel is bathed in orange stage light, and never raises her voice when speaking (battling through a cold, she tells the audience). It belies the power of her singing, which rises to some incredible heights on those tracks that expose her fullest vocal range. There is an introspective twang to her writing, covering all the thoughts you might expect from someone almost always on tour; looking back, looking ahead, feeling uncertain. Blue Canyon is an ode to the beauty of California, while another track laments the fury of New York City at rush hour. Contrasts hang over the songs yet they never feel in opposition, but in harmony. If any of the guitar chords start to feel slightly repetitive, it is only because each track complements the other so well, and deliberately flows into the next.
The band perform a few tracks from across their three albums. They also try out some new tracks like Shake, which grabs you with slightly more of a beat behind it than songs previously, and Even Peace, a lullaby ode to appreciating the moment. They are genuinely touched at being able to try out new music to the crowd, a testimony to how Native Harrow live and breathe the songs they perform. This kinship with the music is something they leave no doubt about.
Supporting Tuel “on all the things” is Stephen Harms, a multi-instrumentalist who delivers an enviable display of multitasking. On drums, guitar and keyboard to name but a few, his presence varies from track to track but adds a completed feeling to each of Native Harrow’s songs. Both Harms and Tuel deliver a swansong tribute to a sun-kissed USA that also looks back on how far their own lives have come over the past decade.
Despite the fact that their newest album was recorded in just three days, there is no sense of urgency here. There is a wonderful peace and escapism that the most transportative of music allows. This is folk rock of the most satisfying variety.