KT Tunstall performing Black Horse & The Cherry Tree on the TV show Later… with Jools Holland in 2004. It was this live solo performance that proved to be the important break-though in her career.

Kate Victoria Tunstall (born 1975), known professionally as KT Tunstall, is a Scottish singer-songwriter and musician.  It is said that she had only 24 hours to prepare for the performance on today’s clip, having been asked to step in at short notice after the American rapper Nas cancelled.

Tunstall said of the song:

“Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” is inspired by old blues, Nashville psycho hillbillies & hazy memories. It tells the story of finding yourself lost on your path, and a choice has to be made. It’s about gambling, fate, listening to your heart, and having the strength to fight the darkness that’s always willing to carry you off.

The song featured on her 2005 debut album, Eye to the Telescope and it is one of many songs that reuses the famous Bo Diddley beat from the influential 1955 song Bo Diddley.

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Listen out for this Bo Diddley beat as well as how she performs her song as a one-person band using a guitar, a tambourine, and a loop pedal.

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Live looping is the recording and playback of a piece of music in real-time. Live looping has become increasingly popular as it offers the ability for a single musician to create multiple layers to their live music, resulting in a sound close to that of a “full band”.  You will have seen Ed Sheeran perform with a loop pedal, but today’s clip shows Tunstall doing this over 15 years ago.

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