The return to uni after the Christmas break always brings a number of things, usually deadlines, the January blues, and more deadlines; this year, however, also sees the return of the Coffeehouse Sessions tour, delivering a variety of musicians from all over the world to our doorstep, offering a welcome acoustic interlude to our Wednesday lunchtimes. Starting the year off is Warren Records-signed artist Jack Conman, with his unique, percussive instrumentation.
The folk singer/songwriter is, on face value, indistinctive from his peers – undeniably talented yes, but with that same familiar, husky accent and an adept approach to his guitar playing. But Conman is acutely aware of this – his path as a musician began as a drummer, and whilst he has now lent his hand to the guitar, he hasn’t turned his back on his beginnings.
The well-versed tone of his soulful voice intertwines with the soft strum of the guitar, which is laid flat across Conman’s lap. As the song progresses, so does the tempo – aided not only by the strum of the guitar, but by the drum of the guitar. Multi-tasking at its most eloquent, Conman uses the instrument at its utmost, delivering a sound of full-band instrumentation from one acoustic guitar.
Original song ‘Finally The World Was Paused’ is delivered by the same means. A haunting, full-bodied display of Conman’s experience, the constant and unrelenting tempo of the track embodies a hyper-folk sound of instrumentation beyond the solo guitar. This style resonates throughout Conman’s original material; dulcet tones convey a foreboding feeling, passion etched into the vocals and relayed by the percussion.
Blossoming further into ‘Heroin Strings,’ the guitar is hoisted to its usual stance, flowing in a sincere symphony of muted brilliance, before penultimate track ‘Misty Central’ sees the instrument return to its all-embodying percussion. The obscured twinkling, intertwining of the guitar’s melody meets the gentle, impactful simplicity of Conman’s drumming. This is the last we see of the extraordinary implementation, with Conman’s final track leaning solely on the humble guitar, more-so an extension of his musicianship than merely an instrument through which to relay his artwork.