Review: KT Tunstall, York Barbican

Two years ago, KT Tunstall took the decision to leave behind her music career when she moved to a newly adopted home of Venice Beach in Los Angeles. Thankfully she had a change of heart.

KT Tunstall performing in York

Taking to the stage, any performer will tell you it’s charisma that will win over an audience. But there are not many who can engage quite like Tunstall, the diminutive singer from St Andrews whose slight stature belies one of the biggest-hearted performers around.

Like the most endearing artists, Tunstall’s work is only really appreciated when you realise just how many songs she’s responsible for. The gig was unsurprisingly heavily slanted to new material

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from her fifth album, KIN, such as Maybe It’s A Good Thing, Hard Girls and Evil Eye. But the two-hour performance included the song that launched her career back in 2004, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, as well as Hold On and set closer, Suddenly I See.

Mixing beat-boxing with folk, pop and rock, Tunstall’s melodies are indebted to artists such as Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young and Tom Petty. But she never forgets her roots, and a wry Scottish sensibility pervades a stage persona that continues to endear her to fans who have stuck with her for more than a decade.

4/5 stars