Live Video: Cold Specks

photo by Morgen Schuler (view set)

When Al Spx, the Canadian singer-songwriter known as Cold Specks, performed live on Jools Holland in November, the two horn players who accompanied her played a grand total of 12 notes. At several points in the performance, Spx stopped playing her guitar completely, letting her voice carry the entire song. Spx’s voice is so powerful, so raw and complex, that it sets itself down in the music rather than rest on top of it. Her voice acts like an instrument in the sense that when she stops playing guitar, when her voice stands alone as the only component of her incredibly captivating songs, it’s so seamless it’s almost difficult to perceive. This is a testament to not only the beauty of her voice, but her songwriting ability as well. Spx, who describes her music as “doom soul,” masterfully uses sparse instrumentation in a way that uncomplicates her music while at the same time revealing the emotional nature of her songs. Check out her entire live solo KEXP in-studio performance, including her interview with DJ John Richards and a breathtaking performance of the traditional song “Old Stepstone,” below:

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