Last night I found myself rubbing shoulders with other media folks and record industry types at the launch for Seasons, the new album from The Verses. The throng at The Vanguard was buzzing before the band took the stage, and I don’t think it was all about those themed cocktails.
Never one for crowds, my husband and I retreated to a quieter spot in the upper level to settle in for the show. It turned out to be a smart move. As the folks downstairs struggled to look over heads, we could sit in relative comfort and enjoy the fantastic entertainment. Ella and Jess Hooper and their very capable band performed just six songs, but those numbers left a big impression.
The Verses is a joint venture for the Hooper siblings, but when they take the stage it’s easy to see who the star is. Jesse is content to fade into the background, quietly strumming his guitar and allowing Ella to shine in the spotlight. And shine she does, with the kind of charisma found in the very best performers. There was a stage full of musicians, but I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
I’d heard a handful of The Verses songs before, but watching them live brought a brand new dimension to these alt country tracks. I also found new songs to love, particularly Ella’s own favourite “Settle Down.” As this stunning ballad concluded my husband lent over to me and whispered that the band could have a number one on the American country charts with that song. Funnily enough, I’d only just been thinking that it could very well be a hit here.
Whether it is, or the album is, we’ll just have to wait and see. This kind of classic meeting of country, folk, and pop influences is a world away from the music of Katy Perry or Lady Gaga. It hearkens back to the days of Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, a time when the song mattered more than the celebrity. I’m not sure whether Australians will embrace Seasons, but I really hope they will.
Seasons hits music stores around the country today.
Image source: own photos