March 31, 2015 Samantha Durnan Heats Up The Bitter End NYC 2-24-15
In recent years, the Pop Rock singer-songwriter genre has been booming with young talent from all over the world. Hailing from the UK, Samantha Durnan is one of the scene’s rising stars, having supported acts such as Ed Sheeran, The Hoosiers and Beverley Knight. Deriving influence from Classic and Alternative Rock, Durnan possesses a style that is diverse with a keen understanding of the art of songwriting. Releasing her debut self-titled EP in September of 2014, Durnan now looks to tour about the UK, but on Tuesday February 24th she made a special trip into NYC for a showcase at lower Manhattan’s The Bitter End bar and concert venue. Looking like a local neighborhood bar, The Bitter End has hosted the likes of Carole King, Bob Dylan, and even an early Lady Gaga. Despite the bitter, cold weather outside, New Yorkers gathered for a chance to see the performance of Durnan along with Kate Yeager, Ethan Keller, Maitri, and Paulo Coelho.
Hitting the stage first was nineteen year old NYU student Kate Yeager. Taking the stage, surrounded by family and friends, Yeager was set to bring her talents to the stage. With a fun and even sassy, personality, her powerful and soulful singing voice left many in the crowd taken back in delight. Armed with an acoustic guitar, solid lyrics, and a voice that may remind of Tracy Chapman, Yeager even picked up some new fans visiting The Bitter End from Australia that evening. Performing a ten song set that began with “No More Knockin,” Yeager moved into other originals like “Go, Go, Go,” and “Coming Around.”
Though her soulful cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” was a high point of the performance, the real crowd pleaser came during her tune “Hard Wired,” which had everyone completely enthralled. The song talked about how NY is a big part of her life and how it has, metaphorically speaking, become hardwired into her DNA. Sweet, down to earth, and happy to be along for the ride, when asked, Yeager stated she was happy to be in her hometown doing what she loved in a place like The Bitter End. Many of her songs speak about being in NY and her trials and tribulations in the big apple as well as some of the cast of characters she has met along the way. At only nineteen years old, Yeager is certainly a developing artists to watch out for in the future. Catch her performing another show at The Bitter End on Wednesday April 15th.
Up next, all the way from the UK, was Samantha Durnan. Excited for the chance to perform in front of a New York City crowd, Durnan had made appearances around her homeland in the weeks prior. For many, this was a first look at Durnan live, and it was an exciting time indeed as she began with the beautiful upbeat tune “Old.” Strumming her guitar with ease, Durnan’s voice beamed bright through the relaxed setting as she went into “Someday” and KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree,” which had everyone singing along. All smiles and flowing through her set smoothly, Durnan appeared extremely comfortable in her own skin under the spotlight, and even cracked jokes with the audience. Coupling more original tracks from her EP including “Alive” and “Breathe,” she also gave spectators a peak at newer song “Through the Dark.”
Closing out her showcase with her breakout song “Who Would Have Thought,” which was Q Magazine’s “Track of the Day” in December 2014, Durnan was nothing less captivating. Still a relatively fresh performer, New York had a exclusive look at Durnan, and chances are many will look back at this performance at The Bitter End as a stepping stone. While the set was stripped down into an acoustic format, it is urged those interested also check out Durnan’s EP to understand the dynamics her tunes have with all elements involved. Just think, if the songs sounded this amazing with just her voice and an acoustic guitar, imagine the complements of her multi-instrumental talents as part of the equation. With more gigs planned for the rest of the year in the UK, Durnan’s schedule is definitely picking up and she is always writing music and working on new songs, so be sure to check for her return to the states soon.Photo credit: Charles Eames Photography