There is a warmth felt when an audience is unconditionally supportive of an artist. This was the case last Thursday when David Francey performed at the Arden Theatre. The crowd sat with expectant looks on their faces as Francey provided context before each one of his songs in his humble and relaxed manner of speech. It felt like we were sitting around his kitchen table rather than a darkened theatre.
Beginning the evening with Lonely Road, from his newest album, The Broken Heart of Everything, he finished and apologized for the huskiness in his vocal tone that comes and goes. Francey has been struggling with voice challenges over the past few years but it was clear that the audience was not perturbed by the vocal inconsistencies. They were pleased to see him and minor changes in vocal texture did nor deter from his storytelling. In fact, the occasional roughness added that additional element of human imperfection, adding a sound of connection and relatability.
There were many old favorites on the program from Torn Screen Door, Pandora’s Box, Red-Winged Black Bird, and Come Raine or Come Shine. He invited the audience to sing if they felt moved at any point but joked that he would prefer if it was on the chorus of that song. Francey has a skill that captures still life moments and uses music to convey the details in these frozen scenes. Through his text and music, he broadcasts these vignettes to the minds of his audience members.
Next up on the Arden Theatre’s Professional Series is Ruthie Foster on May 1, 2019.