“I saw Gary Moore, BB King and Jimi Hendrix in one body onstage, that was Tamar Eisenman”. I was thinking about this quote from’ The Israeli Post’ as I surveyed the Harmonie stage ten minutes before Miss Eisenman’s appearance. In the centre was a microphone, to it’s right an acoustic guitar, and to it’s left on the floor a half dozen foot pedals. Beyond that, only darkness.
The tables in front were all full though, and the bar area was quite filled ten minutes later – which made me wonder if a lot of people were going to be disappointed, including me. I hadn’t really believed in the Moore/King/Hendrix spiel but not even an amp stack?
Funny though how even just one person, if they’re good enough, can fill a stage. Rather like Jack Savoretti did not so long ago, or Ian Parker with an acoustic set here. By shows end I found myself looking at the Tamar Eisenman CD’s in search of a completely acoustic one. The girl from Jerusalem had that Katie Melua charisma that radiates a calm assurance. A shyness that’s captivating and at odds with the confidence and competence of the music being played.
Perhaps a lot of the audience were here because of Eisenmann’s link to top Israeli Rocker Asaf Avidan. Wondering if Avidan might even have made the journey down with her to guest on their duet from the album ‘One Day’ before she joins him in Brussels for his tour. In the event there was no Avidan, just a girl who seemed to have just come down to Bonn with a guitar case and a box of pedals to bring us a memorable evening of beautifully crafted songs and heartfelt music from the new CD ‘On My Way’.
No Avidan, but there was a surprise cover in the shape of Mel C’s ‘Never be the same again’ . The evening though belonged to Eisenman’s own songs. Often as not sung with eyes closed and head gently swaying back and forth as if she would still be playing with the same conviction even if no-one was out front listening. ‘Hey Woman’ started that way too. Just when you think though it’s going to be an unremarkable show visually, she turns her guitar on it’s back, lifts it horizontally above her head and – no, this isn’t a Hendrix moment – begins singing into the guitars sound-hole. How many concerts have I been to in my life? But this was a first. It sounded spookily great. Why isn’t everyone doing it? From then on I knew this girl was a bit out of the ordinary.
There’s a quirkiness about the music at times which makes it all the more enjoyable. I love the lyric “You’re an umbrella with a hole” (from ‘I know’), and clearly she has an ear for a commercial melody as displayed on the new single that had the phrase ‘Hit me, Hit me, Hit me home run’ firmly nested in my head for days afterwards.
Surprise, surprise, She’s not Hendrix, or Moore, or BB at all. She’s Tamar Eisenman – and if you get a chance to hear her live or on record you will know, that in a world where so many people sound the same, that’s someone very special indeed. Eisenman is very, very much as her CD title proclaims, On her way.