CLOSING THE WINTER ON A HIGH NOTE, GOODMORNINCAPTN HOSTED A GIG “AU SALON” LAST SUNDAY. FOR OUR FIRST EVER LIVING-ROOM SESSION, WE HAD THE GREAT PLEASURE AND HONOR TO INVITE THOMAS MERY IN AN OLD MONTMARTRE BOUTIQUE TURNED INTO AN APARTMENT, AND – ON THIS SPECIAL OCCASION – TURNED INTO AN INTIMATE CONCERT VENUE. THIS IS NO SECRET THAT WE HAVE BEEN STRONG SUPPORTERS OF THOMAS FOR YEARS, FROM BOTH HIS ALBUMS WITH PURR TO HIS LATEST SOLO MUSICAL WANDERINGS (SEE OUR 2005 INTERVIEW HERE), AND MR MERY REWARDED US WITH A DELIGHTFUL OVERVIEW OF HIS SOLO WORK FROM A SHIP, LIKE A GHOST, LIKE A CELL TO HIS LATEST EP DES LARMES MÉLANGÉES DE POUSSIÈRE, AS WELL AS COVERS AND A COUPLE OF UNRELEASED SONGS.
Paris, Sunday March 14 – A quiet cul-de-sac on the south side of Montmartre staged the first GoodMorninCaptn parlour session, simply entitled « Au Salon ». Behind the blurred window glass of a reconverted boutique, furniture was moved and a buffet table set. The happy few guests were welcomed into the cozy apartment with their contributions of cakes and drinks, and soon ushered onto sofas and cushions for the first set.
Mr Mery and his faithful Guild guitar quietly seated on a white wooden chair, set against a bare background of beige and off-white. But within a few guitar chords, his palette filled the room, and with his first words, the audience was mesmerized.
Starting with songs from his 2006 solo debut, A Ship, Like A Ghost, Like A Cell, he let the sense of intimacy underlying his work fully bloom into the ears of the selected group. Yet he interpreted tracks such as “Real Shift” or “The Red of The Shoes” with unsettling propriety, uncomfortably twisting his legs and modestly bending over his guitar.
Newer tracks from his EP Des Larmes Mélangées De Poussière included “Aux Fenêtres Immenses”, in which Thomas allows himself more freedom than ever, trying out more melodious lines, shifting languages and directions through more than 11 epic, magnificent minutes.
Thomas Mery Passe Au Salon – “Aux Fenêtres Immenses”
The three tracks on the EP, fully illustrate his progress in the past few years. Technically to begin with. Thomas is turning to French again on two of them and handles his mother tongue with impressionist skills that are quite unique on the scene. Evocative and mysterious, literate yet unpretentious, his lyrics still vehicle the same melancholy, the same sadness. Nevertheless, the almost stifling emergency that sometimes characterized his past work is slowly giving way to maturity. Where you could hear “live and ache” you may now understand “live and learn”. His guitar playing seems to have followed quite the same direction. Still deeply rooted into folk, and yet of unquestionable modernity. Patiently destructured and reconstructed, his guitar lines fade and morph unpredictably and seamlessly. Instrumental storytelling. Patterns overlay like veils, and echo each other like the surfaces of some imaginary landscape. Shades of nude with sparks of ice-blue fading into the deep greens of the undergrowth contrasted with the red of blood.
Two yet untitled tracks following the same path should be released later this year. Fully written in French, they convey the same cinematic elegance, the same know-how in song-writing. The same but different: the richness of nuances, the colors, the sceneries. Different. Need we say we are looking forward to the next full length?
Thomas Mery Passe Au Salon – De l’amour, de la colère
While many singers feel the need to go lower down the scale as they advance in their career, Thomas is finding more comfort for his voice in pushing his guitar capo to the higher frets. His brilliant interpretation of Costello’s “Shipbuilding” best demonstrated his mastery of the heights. His vocals fluently curved around the living room and entangled with his traditional folk arrangements. Other covers included his disarming rendering of Paulinho Da Viola’s, fetured on Des Larmes Mélangées De Poussières, and his now classic “Running Up That Hill”, which retains all the tension and high energy of Miss Kate Bush’s original, while remarkably stripping it down to minimalism.
As the concert ended, records were frantically purchased, and wine, beer, and vegan canapés (and cigarettes) were cheerfully shared. The opportunity for initiates and newcomers alike to approach his work from another angle, and discover that the shy, talented – and often sad – man on stage is also a kind and funny man on the sofa. Quite expectedly, Miao Miao the house cat stole Mr Mery’s thunder for the rest of the evening. The story does not say if she was hired to play for the next parlour gig, and if she would be able to hypnotize her audience for more than an hour like Thomas did, so… stay tuned.
Read more about Thomas Mery.
Purchase Des Larmes Mélangées De Poussière here.
Read our 2005 interview here.