Australian singer-songwriter Rainee Blake, now L.A. based after having landed roles in recent years in feature films and TV’s country music series, Nashville, returned to Adelaide for this year’s Fringe to play a selection of her own songs and those she has recorded for the highly popular series and other film projects.
Playing solo at The Lark to a dozen or so people must be a far cry from performing with a band to a Grand Ole Opry full-house, and Blake seemed a little self-conscious and hesitantly nervous during this performance.
She did try her hardest to get her small audience to join in with handclaps and choral singing, but the fact is that her down tempo songs do not really encourage this type of involvement, and it subsequently felt a little uncomfortable at times.
Most of Blake’s songs are personal and about relationships, or the lack of them, and generally tend to be sad and downbeat. Her guitar playing is rudimentary at best, and her melodies struggled to emerge as a result.
There were some songs that you could imagination would be great with a full band’s backing – ‘Treading Water‘, which featured in the last season of Nashville was one, as was the song she sang that featured in her recent film role, playing singer Rita Coolidge, in I Am DB Cooper.
Rainee Blake has a lovely voice, obviously stylistically influenced by her musical muse Joni Mitchell, but her material in this show was mono-paced and needed a little more stylistic variation in order to consistently keep her audience’s full focus.
Rating: 3 stars
Rainee Blake performed at The Lark, Gluttony on Sunday 19 February.
Her 2023 Fringe season has now concluded.