Tucked away in the basement of Hyde Park Book Club, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig took us through the quiet brilliance of her debut album Dawnbreaker. Support from Leeds-duo Sunflower Thieves and indie-folk upcoming Vraell warmed up for our main act with an abundance of soothing vocals, before Monnig, brazenly entitled ‘Daughter of Swords’, picked up her guitar and climbed onstage. With a gentle presence to match her soft acoustic sound, the singer-songwriter- previously one third of folk-band ‘Mountain Man’- is not only easy to watch but hard to look away from.
Her voice was proven to be just as captivating live as in her studio tracks as she opened the set acapella. Her angelic voice and ambling lyricism aren’t far away from Big Thief’s incredible Adrienne Lenker; it’s easy to see how Monnig’s solo writing will only grow from here.
A few songs in she eased into ‘Shining Women’, my personal favourite track off the new album and a highlight of the gig. ‘Life’s gone before you know it’ she sings serenely, it ‘passes you by if you don’t seize it’. The lyricism of Alexandra’s album is filled with tender moments like this, made all the better in such an intimate gig setting.
Ending on Jean Ritchie’s ‘Morning Come, Maria Gone’, she elegantly gave a traditional folk track her own poignancy. With lilting melodies and a voice to captivate, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig is a hugely undiscovered gem on the American folk scene. The music of Daughter of Swords is beautifully simple, and her UK tour is proving it so.