On April 23rd World Café Live’s free Monday night institution, Philly Rising Open Mic, will be hosting a special guest, Britain-bred, Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and one-of-Shawn-Mullins’- favorite-people-in-the-world-of-music, Callaghan. In 2010 Callaghan relocated from London to Atlanta to record her debut album with Shawn Mullins (who produced the album). “I lived there several years and played as many singer/songwriter venues as I could,” but she tells me that, compared to the US, the UK’s options for live performances are relatively small: “There’s a thirst for live music over here, people support live music.”
Her debut album, Life in Full Colour, whose life began in 2010, isn’t actually hitting shelves until May 1st of this year. The writing and recording process was quite extensive, which included narrowing down around 40 songs to the 12 that are found on the LP, representing a wide array of the singer/songwriter’s mindsets over the substantial timeline: “I think with the first album it’s always interesting because you have so many songs to choose from. Some were written many years ago and some were quite recent writes.” However, she tells me that many of those tracks that didn’t make the first album are still in her live repertoire and still have the potential to find their way onto future releases.
Life in Full Colour is certainly not alienating. It explores various facets of the worlds of folk and country, yet with a gloss that would render it popularly satisfying to anyone who enjoys clever, well-constructed musings on all of the things that we spend 99% of our waking lives pondering. Their whimsical melodrama is reminiscent of a teenage heart (and would certainly be more than suitable for any hour-long teen drama on The CW). However, Callaghan does seem to have come out on the other side and have a bit of hope to offer that existentially tormented portion of the population. “I hope the feel of the album is very uplifting,” she tells me.
In terms of what audiences can expect of her live set, Callaghan says “They will get entertained. That’s always my goal, whether I’m doing a solo show or a show with a full band. I try to connect with the audience as much as I can… I hope that people are moved in different ways.” If you’re curious to see just how Callaghan can move you, but you can’t make it out to next Monday’s free performance, she will be returning to World Café Live (Downstairs, this time) to open for Matthew Sweet on the Girlfriend Tour. However, if you can’t make it out to either of her upcoming appearances (or you’re just not a huge fan of World Café Live), Callaghan does offer another option to get to see her live; if you can’t make it out to see her, she’ll potentially come to you… Since moving to the states, Callaghan has taken up house shows…That is she will come to your house to perform two forty minute sets in front of 40-50 of your closest friends… she’s even open to requests. She tells me that she enjoys these shows, which tend to be far more relaxed and intimate than a gig in an average concert hall and allow for even greater connections with the audience. If this interests you (It is, after all, graduation party season.) , check out the “House Concerts” page of her website. And, while you’re there, make sure to take her up on the limited-time offer to download Life in Full Colour’s first single, “Best Year,” for free and check out the accompanying music video, which is the likely most sentimental thing I’ll admit to liking for a very long time.