Erin Rae giggles in London ***

In the midst of her promotional tour for her latest album Putting On Airs, Erin Rae gave a third performance in two days at London’s Slaughtered Lamb basement venue. A beautiful support set came from Brooklyn-based Kiwi singer-songwriter Samuel R Saffrey who was joined by three friends and even a fourth for one number. With a band of three led by American guitarist Jerry Bernhardt with drums and bass, Rae glided through a 14-song set lasting a little over an hour with nine tracks from her recent album Putting On Airs. The audience was held transfixed throughout by Rae’s crystal clear vocals and Bernhardt’s dreamy echoey guitar … Continue reading Erin Rae giggles in London ***

The Wood Brothers – Live at London’s Bush Hall *****

A great opening set came from Logan Brill who was joined on guitar by Jess Grommet, one of her band mates from Nashville. Brill began singing blues in a local bar in Tennessee at the age of 11 and she treated the audience to a storming blues number during her set. Pick of her tracks was If We Didn’t Break Each Other’s Heart, a beautiful song inspired by her hero Bonnie Raitt. Brill ended with Walk Of Shame which morphed into a closing crowd singalong chorus of Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here. After she finished there were shouts for “more”. The Wood Brothers are Chris Wood on upright/electric bass and harmonica, Oliver Wood on lead … Continue reading The Wood Brothers – Live at London’s Bush Hall *****

Jim White. St Mary’s Church, Guildford *****

Americana storyteller deluxe Jim White delivered a stunning performance to a spellbound Guildford audience. White is not only a master musical storyteller but a master performer. You may think you have heard his stories before but they’re mostly different each time and any familiar ones have a new twist. From the sublime to the ridiculous, via beauty, crime, the macabre and religion, White has a catalogue to keep a psychotherapist busy for years. Anyone who writes a song about a lady serial killer warrants further investigation. This was the Jim White experience and the full treatment. Two hours of quality music and side-splitting stories. … Continue reading Jim White. St Mary’s Church, Guildford *****

Courtney Marie Andrews – Live in Southampton ***** Review

  On her third tour of the UK this year Courtney Marie Andrews brought her band to Talking Heads in Southampton. The support from troubadour Buck Meek brought a surprise, Courtney’s band led by Dillon Warnock came on to back him for the last three numbers of his set. Unusual and much appreciated. Starting with Long Road Back To You from her latest album, Andrews’ vocal mike started to feedback and she stopped the song, sorted out the sound and picked up the track from the midway point as if nothing had happened. From this point on the show was faultless. Andrews and her superb band gave, as always, a … Continue reading Courtney Marie Andrews – Live in Southampton ***** Review

REVIEW: Courtney Marie Andrews at the Talking Heads, Southampton. Portsmouth News

Rising star Courtney Marie Andrews thrilled the Talking Heads audience with this 90-minute, 17-track set. An Americana masterclass. Kicking off with Long Road Back To You Andrews encountered sound problems and had the confidence to stop the track midway through, have the sound adjusted, and continue as if nothing had happened. Highlights of the show ranged from the hauntingly beautiful Near You to the more uptempo Kindness Of Strangers and the politically charged Border. Two new high-quality songs made the set, Guilty and Set It Free. Andrews is a supremely confident performer, having honed her craft from continually performing over the past twelve years after leaving home at sixteen … Continue reading REVIEW: Courtney Marie Andrews at the Talking Heads, Southampton. Portsmouth News

Sons Of Bill – Live in London **** – Live Review

“It’s a long time since we’ve been in England, it’s good to be back” says James Wilson, frontman for Americana group Sons of Bill. “Everyone’s been so friendly, except that nasty woman in the Toby Carvery” he adds dryly. The band’s London headline show was at Omeara, perhaps the best mid-sized venue in London, wholly appropriate for the group’s sumptuous sound and rich harmonies. Touring Europe to promote their latest album, the very fine Oh God Ma’am, the three Wilson brothers, James on lead vocals and acoustic/electric guitar, Abe on keyboards and Sam on electric guitar, were supported by bass and drums. Kicking off with three numbers from the latest album, Good Mourning, Firebird … Continue reading Sons Of Bill – Live in London **** – Live Review

John Prine – Live in London at Rough Trade East

Rough Trade East is a great venue for an intimate showcase gig and record signing, an area in a record shop with the CD racks cleared to make the space of a small club. An expectant, capacity crowd waited for the storyteller to arrive. I was standing next to a youngish guy who had been introduced to Prine by his dad, who was also there. I asked him which would be the best John Prine album to buy. Back came the response “All of them”. The new album, Tree Of Forgiveness, is brilliant, bursting with top quality songs, expertly performed and produced by Dave Cobb. His … Continue reading John Prine – Live in London at Rough Trade East