Barb Jungr in concert Cardiff WalesJungr, as you might expect of an artist who’s played every cool joint from London’s Ronnie Scott’s to Manhattan’s internationally renowned Jazz cabaret venue the Metropolitan Room, is a consummate professional. When her take of “Ring Them Bells” veers off track, she stops the song and slips seamlessly into a humorous anecdote about an embarrassing hospital visit during a heatwave in New York. Suffice to say, the legendary folk singer Odetta wasn’t best pleased that Jungr had turned up without phoning ahead! More often, however, Jungr’s between-songs patter is a means of illuminating the source material, serving to enrich the understanding of each concertgoer. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right”, introduced as one of Dylan’s ‘mean love songs’, is prefaced by an audacious attempt to psychoanalyse Joan Baez’s ‘churlish mood’ throughout D.A. Pennebaker’s classic documentary, Don’t Look Back. After a short discourse on the balance of power in the Dylan/Baez romance, Jungr comes down on the side of Baez, seeing her as the wronged party in the affair and having to endure a very public humiliation to boot.

Jungr is accompanied for the evening by pianist Jenny Carr, a classically trained musician with experience of working with a variety of appealing pop acts from Billy Ocean to Imelda May. Crucially, Carr was also part of the original Every Grain of Sand tour and has played on several Jungr records, most recently 2012′s Stockport to Memphis. Consequentlythere is an easy-going vibe on stage, with Carr happy to play “straight man” to the irrepressible Jungr. The first of two 45-minute sets comes to end with a dramatic retelling of “Shelter from the Storm”, a tune arranged by Grammy award-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood.  Jungr is happy to clue the audience into the pair’s initial meeting, where Hobgood, upon hearing that there were a clunky ten verses to tackle, suggested cutting the song down to size. Jungr’s response to such a sacrilegious request is instructive – ‘No.

To read the review in full visit Wales Arts Review