Gal Musette’s Musings Shine in San Juan Capistrano

January 26, 2013 in Live Reviews by Chantel Donnan

Gal MusetteNegative NancyWe’ve called fourteen-year-old artist Gal Musette a lot of things lately – charming, compelling, even prolific – and all of them are true. However, it wasn’t until last week, when I saw her live performance at The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, that I realized the truthfulness in those words. The young singer is so much more than our adjectives can express. Her music, her performance, her sheer ambition is inspiring. In fact, it’s just as her name implies: Gal is a little muse.

And trust me I wasn’t alone in my revelations that night. When One Tree Hill star and singer-songwriter Tyler Hilton asked the crowd, “How about that Gal Musette?” he was met with a tidal wave of (well-deserved) enthusiastic cheers. “I’m having a fan moment right now,” Hilton continued. “After my set, you guys can find me at her merch table. I’m gonna get a CD and have her sign it.” The sight was almost comical, one of the evening’s headliners blown away by a piano-playing kid who can’t even drive yet, but not one face in that crowd bore a look of disbelief. We’d all seen the same show, and we knew he was totally right.

Gal’s performance had been tender and sweet, almost by design to knock out socks off that much more. Looking resplendent in a red dress, with one small rose tucked behind an ear, she’d approached the stage without pomp and circumstance and settled behind the piano with her guitar player, Brent Sampson. The two immediately broke into “Moon Song,” a simple melodic tune that laments a lost love. Gal’s voice rang over the hushed crowd, singing, “The day has come to be so long, and the sky has lost its golden hue… for you took it all with you.” As I gazed around the room, you could see on the faces of the audience – no one saw this coming.

Moon SongGal MusetteMusette continued to charm the crowd, offering sweet, modest “thank yous” between songs and breathlessly laughing at Brent’s jokes as they went along. She even brought a special guest on stage, her older sister Luisa who was visiting from Berlin, and as she serenaded her, telling of the “Beautiful sight of [her] beautiful sister,” you could practically feel the hearts in the audience collectively melting. Gal played piano and ukulele during the set, while Brent supported her with guitar and backing vocals, the two of them a truly remarkable pair up on stage.

I was half engrossed in my notes, half stunned that this girl yet again managed to exceed my expectations, when I caught the unexpected sound of my name coming from the stage. It was Brent, asking me to stand up for the people and take my share of applause on MIP’s behalf. Of course, I obliged (because writers secretly like recognition too), but a part of me felt that our roles of the thanker and the thanked should be reversed. After all, what good is my writing without an inspiring artist to prompt it? So thank you, Gal and Brent, for your amazing recordings and even greater live shows. Our world needs more of your simply brilliant songs.

You can catch Gal at The Coach House once again in February, when she opens for Marcus Foster. In the meantime, check out her Soundcloud page for progress on her ongoing project, 70 Love Songs.

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