Rickie Lee Jones | Glasgow Royal Concert Hall | Rating ****
Rickie Lee Jones’ guitar tech had almost as much of a starring role in this show as the New Orleans-based singer herself – so much so that she invited him to join her band for a number late in a set which may have stuttered into existence but only slightly impeded Jones’s determination to do things her way.
That included no encore and no airing for her biggest hit, Chuck E’s In Love, but plenty exposure for her distinctive, charming, elastic voice, effortlessly oscillating between conversational delivery and swooping high notes on the likes of We Belong Together, and for the intuitive skills of her new band, picked up at the Montreal Jazz Festival, who were equally at home with her jazz-inflected pop, swampy R&B or a dreamy Tex-Mex waltz which Jones topped off with a heartaching country vocal.
Her almost casually wide-ranging set blended the sacred and profane on the Leonard Cohenesque devotional The Altar Boy, delivered an acoustic rendition of David Bowie’s Rebel Rebel like an off-the-cuff street poem, and moved on to more expansive piano-led numbers such as big-in-Australia The Horses and the yearning On Saturday Afternoons in 1963.
Her wah-wah pedal gave up the ghost just as Jones was gearing up for a song called Haunted. She abandoned her six-string to fate and the roadie and threw her hands in the air in a cathartic gesture, snatching victory from the jaws of those gremlins.