20th August | Thekla
No stranger to Bristol, Phoebe Bridgers played a stripped back, acoustic set in the intimate surroundings of Rough Trade in March of this year, travelling a hefty 3,700 miles to do so. This Monday, Phoebe is back on Bristol soil, playing Thekla, in support of her debut full-length LP, Stranger in the Alps.
Phoebe grew up listening to folk and bluegrass handed down from her parents, as well as Neil Young and Jackson Browne, before discovering the joys of punk and emo and then the inward-looking tones of Elliott Smith. Writing her first song at aged just eleven, the innate intuition was always there. She went on to study vocal jazz and joined the band Sloppy Jane, after which she was asked to record a cover of Pixies’ ‘Gigantic’ and her musical career subsequently snow-balled from there, with a fateful meeting with producer and musician Ryan Adams who produced her first 7”, ‘Killer’, released on Adams’ own label, PAX AM. Her recent collaboration with Noah Gundersen, formerly of Washington based group The Courage, highlighted both the simplicity and purity of Phoebe’s vocals and emotional resonance.
Writing with a depth and humility that spans beyond her twenty-three years, Phoebe Bridgers has earned comparisons with the likes of Joni Mitchell, Neko Case and sisters Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly. Sharing not only lyrical and quirky melodic sensibilities, they also share a love for the Beatles, Dylan and the late, great David Bowie, whom Bridgers references in her track ‘Smoke Signals’. Proving just how fluid and tangible the effects of musical influences can be on creativity and the psyche, throughout our lifetimes. It’s the domino effect, after all.
These songs are heart-breaking, they’re fragile and they’re overwhelmingly real. If that doesn’t make you feel something, then nothing will.
See Phoebe Bridgers and Noah & Abby Gunderson perform ‘Killer + The Sound’ here:
Featured image by Rowan Allen, from Phoebe Bridgers’ March set at Rough Trade.