Live at Black Deer Festival: Songwriter Circle – My Girl The River, Kate Ellis, Thomas Jay and Erika Olsen

June 17, 2023

Over at the SupaJam tent, staff and students are working hard to operate the SupaJam stage amidst a frenzy of other activities; podcasting, jam sessions, and a classic mix of retro games. The stretch tent provides much needed shade for a sleepy audience, ready to be lulled by artists in the Songwriter Circle.

The inspiration behind this year’s Black Deer is storytelling, because who else can tell a story better than a Country and Americana artist? They’ll have us weeping, laughing, and heading for blue mountains and fire lit camps before the weekend is out.

This set was quieter than anyone was expecting as the sound and lighting crew desperately tried to manage a dodgy DI box. Without sound, Kris (My Girl The River) stepped heroically into the crowd and serenaded us with ‘I try’, a song about ‘all our shortcomings and insecurities as a human being…we do our best don’t we?’ To which we all related and decided – in that moment at least – to be a little kinder to ourselves.

Thomas Jay the only male vocalist delivered an emotional performance of ‘Save Me From Myself’, a song he wrote and performed the previous year with a SupaJam student, his guitar pulling at our heartstrings.

As Thomas jay sat, Kate Ellis stood and introduced a song about her Father, bringing us into her inner circle. ‘I wrote this song about my Dad… I spent too long trying to figure out, change…it helped to throw away all that stuff and just love him.’ Kris, a self-declared ‘obsessed Kate Ellis fan’, joined in with delicate harmonies as she told her gentle, sad story.

Erika Olsen then continued the tales with her account of that time during Covid that we all seem to have forgotten, so far away from the heat and activity of the festival – her soft voice mingling with her guitar.

If you’re looking for expertly crafted stories told through the medium of song, head back to the SupaJam stage on Saturday to see My Girl The River and Kate Ellis, both performing as members of the Arc Songwriters. We’ll see you there!

Words Becca Bates – Pics David Court

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