Brooklyn, New York, musician Scout Gillett and Bloomington songwriter and guitarist Kay Robertson — musically known as Kay Krull — sang emotional sets at The Orbit Room on Nov. 16 amid colorful lights strung along the ceiling of the venue.
Both singers sang with voices reminiscent of Joni Mitchell — heartfelt yet strong. Robertson began her performance with an electric guitar, showcasing the tattoos sprawled along her arms and chest. The audience watched with rapt attention.
Robertson performed unreleased originals and songs from her recent album “Saturn in Love” and a cover of “Barbara Allen,” released by Joan Baez in 1960.
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“That was an oldie but a goodie,” Robertson said after performing the song. “They all die in those ones.”
As the show progressed, she sang, “It feels good with her hand on my neck and the sweat in between” during her performance of her original song, “Phoebe.” Robertson said it was about when the weather is cold outside.
“It was about tonight,” Robertson said as the temperature fell below 32 degrees. “It’s about right now.”
She carried a powerful cadence with her sincere voice in “To Get Away with It” and explored the song with a twangy tone.
After telling the crowd that she hasn’t played the next song publicly yet, she sang, “I don’t mind / I’m in love for the last time.” Robertson also covered Jean Ritchie’s “O Johnny’s on the Water.” “It’s about men drowning and being okay with it,” she said.
Gillett performed some unreleased songs along with her recently released album “no roof no floor” with a full band, including a drummer, bassist, guitarist and herself as vocalist and guitarist. Audience members trickled in — less than five were in the room at any given moment — and she asked her band, “Are we ready to rock?” after sound check.
Adorned with a burnt orange sweater and hat, Gillett started her set with her folk-rock original song “one to ten.” Her strong voice was a juxtaposition to her band playing soft rock.
Gillett rocked back and forth while she performed, gracefully strumming her guitar during her performance of “lonesome dove.” As the drummer picked up the beat, the guitarist provided an eccentric rock lick.
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Gillett talked to the audience about their experiences touring as a band, including eating good soup at The Trojan Tavern before introducing their next song.
“This song is called ‘no roof no floor’ and I’m about to take my shoes off,” Gillett said. “It’s that time of night. I’m trying to get cozy. This is my house.”
Paired with her stoic movements, Gillett spit out the lyrics at times. After the song, she talked about a restaurant in Kentucky — Sherry’s — where she met the owner and namesake, Sherry.
The band then played an unreleased original, a slower folk song, as they all swayed to the beat. They went right into the next song, a much louder rock song, with quick movements.
During their performance of “hush, stay quiet,” Gillett’s shoulders raised up and down with the tonal shifts throughout the song.
Gillett talked about how she had met the opener, Kay Krull, through band camp and immediately formed a connection, as they both had the same sense of humor.
"I've spent all my days growing up exploring and creating,” Gillett said. “And I think that just has led me here."
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