May 21 2017

Tim O’Brien with support Kaia Kater, Friday 19th May 2017

Friday night’s show almost didn’t happen. Both acts had played in Edinburgh the previous night. Kaia and Andrew caught the train. Tim and Jan drove a few miles out of Edinburgh and suffered a double tyre blowout. They made the venue a few minutes before scheduled opening time, did a very quick sound check and were good to go with only a slight delay for door opening time. Fortunately, they knew their way as this was their second visit.

Photos by Graham Smout:

The opening act, Kaia Kater, is a young self-assured African-Canadian clawhammer banjo player, very ably accompanied by equally young Andrew Ryan on double bass. She grew up listening to Canadian folk music at her parents’ home in Toronto and later studied Appalachian music in West Virginia. We knew we were in for a special night from the opening notes of her first song, Little Pink. Playing banjo throughout and taking tenor vocals with Andrew adding greatly to a rootsy, jazz tinged mix of instrumentals. An outstanding acapella Signs and Wonders made an apocalyptic song seem a thing of beauty. With two CDs to her name so far, SORROW BOUND (2015) and NINE PIN (2016), it was their first UK visit with another planned later this year; watch out for her.

Mark Radcliffe recently described Tim O’Brien as a Bluegrass musical genius who you would love to hate but can’t because he is such a nice guy. On Friday, he limited himself to virtuoso bluegrass/Americana performances on vocals, guitar, fiddle and mandolin. I suppose he could have borrowed Kaia’s banjo if he had felt ridiculously adventurous but that might have just been regarded as showing off! To add to that level of skill he is also a great song writer as well as somewhat of a comedian on stage.

Photos by Keith Belcher:

Tim opened on guitar with Walk Beside Me, a song co-written with his great friend and brilliant song writer Darrell Scott. That was followed by I’ve Endured, both songs very appropriate following his trials during the day. Tim is equally adept at plectrum style or finger picks, it was quite astonishing just how flawless his playing was. The very moving Like I Used to Do was requested before the show. Tim then moved to fiddle, an instrumental tune first and then with the ever popular Working on a Building demonstrating how to sing while playing. Next, we had the mandolin, Ditty Boy Twang was followed by an instrumental Kid on the Mountain.

Tim’s partner Jan Fabricius then joined Tim on stage for the rest of the night supplying great backing vocals and harmonies.  Tim switched back to guitar, their first song, Gillian Welch’s Wichita. Tim and sister Molly were among the first to recognise the phenomenal talent of Gillian Welch and were the first to record the song back in 1994. After recounting the story of their day’s travels and numerous jokes about West Virginia most of the rest of the night comprised of songs from the new CD WHERE THE RIVER MEETS THE ROAD, which comprises songs from West Virginia. Tim, born in West Virginia has a great interest as he is on the Board of the West Virginia Music hall of Fame. The title song was inspired by Tim’s great grandfather.

We were treated to almost the entire album in stripped back form. It should be noted however that the musicians on the actual CD are Nashville royalty. Stuart Duncan plays fiddle throughout, as does Noam Pikelny on Banjo, Victor Krauss on Bass to name but a few, the list goes on and on. Also, guesting on vocals is multi award winning Chris Stapleton.   High Flying Bird was the first of many songs from the CD. Particularly moving was self-penned Guardian Angel, a story inspired by and about Tim’s sister Brigid who tragically passed away at only 6 years of age.

The set just flew by, finishing with Little Annie, which is also the last song on the CD. We were treated to 2 encores. The first, The Water is Wise, a co-write with the awesomely talented Sarah Jarosz who also sang the song on her UK tour earlier this year. An audience sing along ended the show with the gospel Oh, Lord, How Long first recorded by Odette and Ethel in 1926. Another great night at The Live Room, Caroline Street, Saltaire.

Review by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Kaia Kater interview with Rob & Molly from BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

May 12 2017

Lankum, Sunday 7th May 2017

Sunday 7th May brought another fun night to The Live Room, Saltaire. This time a debut appearance from 4 piece ‘Dublin miscreants’, Lankum, formerly known as Lynched.

Made up of brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, Cormac Mac Diarmada and Radie Peat, they entertained with glorious harmonies and superb instrumentals mixing music hall, ballads, traditional with original material, both serious and funny. We even got a short rendition of ‘Simply The Best’!

A range of instruments from Uilleann pipes, whistles, guitars, fiddles, Russian accordions, concertinas and harmonium. Quite a lot of information on Irish music was imparted to the very appreciative audience. The band still only have the one CD, ‘Cold Old Fire’ to their name, but with a new one possibly later this year. Let’s hope they will return to Caroline Street for a repeat date.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly from BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Apr 25 2017

Oh Susanna, Friday 21st April 2017

It was the fourth time that we’ve presented Suzie Ungerleider aka Oh Susanna, over the years. Ever since Ron first heard her singing one of the murder ballads from her Johnstown album on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour back in the late 90s (he was getting in touch with his feminine side while building a cupboard!), she has been one of our very favourite singer songwriters. Nearly twenty years and eight critically acclaimed albums later she is still delivering performances that send shivers up your back with that spine tingling voice and lyrics that cut to the bone.

Her latest album, ‘A Girl In Teen City’, is a collection of autobiographical songs, about love, lust and longing while growing up in Vancouver. From ‘My Boyfriend’, about a girl with dreams of becoming a singer, but stuck on the sidelines listening to the boys play at being rock stars, to ‘Tickets On The Weekend’, a great singalong, conjuring pictures of young rebelliousness at the local hall, the album is a bitter sweet memoir of teenage life that many of us will recognise.

Suzie also gave us a ride through her amazing back catalogue, with songs such as ‘River Blue’ from ‘Sleepy Little Sailor’, ‘Pretty Face’ from ‘Short Stories’, and the heart breaking but uplifting ‘See What Promises Can Bring’ from ‘Soon The Birds’. Always warm and lovely company, she is accompanied on this tour by BJ Baartmans from the Netherlands, who provided beautiful and understated guitar that complemented her songs perfectly.

Photos courtesy of Graham Smout

Pre Show Interviews

Oh Susanna Into The Buttercup interview with Rob & Molly

Apr 15 2017

Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders, Friday April 7th 2017

What can you say about a man like Andy Fairweather Low? Well, one thing is that he has achieved virtually everything anyone could possibly ask for in a musical career spanning 50 years. Teenage pop star with Amen Corner; successful singer songwriter; super sideman with the likes of Eric Clapton and Roger Waters; guitarist and singer revered by fans and fellow musicians. He, as much as anyone, could be excused for taking things easy and coasting, but not a bit of it. The skill, enthusiasm and sheer energy he pumps into his two hour plus show would put many half his age to shame.

With the Low Riders, Andy seems to have found his ideal band setting for his own material. Featuring fellow Clapton sideman, Dave Bronze on bass, Paul Beavis (Judie Tzuke, Andy Summers, Robert Fripp, Russ Ballard, Leo Sayer) on drums, and Nick Pentelow (Roy Wood, Gary Moore, Elton John) on sax and clarinet, this is one hell of a band.

You would obviously expect to hear the hits from such an illustrious career, and we got ‘Half As Nice’, ‘Bend Me Shape Me’ and ‘High In The Sky’ from his Amen Corner days, as well as ‘Wide Eyed And Legless’ and ‘La Booga Rooga’ from his 70s solo career. But we also got a whole bunch of songs from the two Low Riders albums, that showed he is still writing new material and choosing some great cover versions.

With his instantly recognisable (and after 50 years, still perfectly intact) high tenor voice to the fore, it’s easy to forget just what a great guitar player he is. There are few soloists who create their own voice on their chosen instrument, and Andy is one of them. We were treated to some of the dirtiest guitar playing you’ll ever hear, especially on the AFL favourite, ‘Gin House Blues’.

It was another triumphant performance from Andy and the band, which was greeted with tremendous cheers from an ecstatic crowd. The band clearly love playing here in Saltaire and we’ll no doubt see them again.

We would also like to mention a great opening set from Shropshire based singer songwriter acoustic guitar wizard, Chris Quinn.

Photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Rob & Molly of BCB Radio's Into The Buttercup

Mar 29 2017

The Fair Rain 24th March 2017

We had had The Fair Rain (or The Old Dance School, as they were called when we first heard them) in our sights for over two years, and they didn’t disappoint on their TLR debut on Friday 24th March.

Photos by Keith Belcher

Short one member, owing to a family illness, they nevertheless demonstrated exactly why their music has been described as ‘cinematic’ by several commentators. With their instrumental line-up of acoustic guitar, double bass, drums, violin, viola, accordion, and trumpet augmented by electronics, they produce a truly unique sound.

Their songs too, on the night drawn mainly from their 2016 album ‘Behind The Glass’, are highly original. Main writer and lead vocalist, Robin Beattie’s contributions genuinely create a cinematic listening experience. Perhaps the best example of this is the eerily beautiful, ‘Mannequin’, the tragic story of Franz Reichelt, the Austrian-born tailor, who in 1912 decided to eschew his hitherto use of tailor’s dummies, to personally test his prototype parachute from the Eiffel Tower; a test that was filmed and sadly, proved to be his last. The band has a cult following, but really do deserve much wider recognition for their work.

Photos by Graham Smout

The final show of our 2017 Winter Season also saw the debut of ‘the new stage’! Not before time, as we have spent almost five years cramming bands into the inadequate space using a variety of rickety concoctions that wouldn’t pass a rudimentary health and safety inspection.

Pre Show Interviews

Interview with Molly & Rob from BCB Radio Into The Buttercup

Mar 22 2017

More Feedback from Lindisfarne gig

“Thanks for great evening and brilliant seat.  I think I must be turning into a folk rock fan.  The atmosphere was amazing.  I found it quite emotional at times.  All those people enjoying themselves.” Jean

Mar 13 2017

Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders

We have nearly sold out for this gig – there’s just ten tickets remaining and they are only available from our website now.  Don’t be disappointed – buy your tickets now before it’s too late!

This gig will also be another late one, we think, as we have the excellent singer songwriter Mr Chris Quinn opening at 8pm.

Mar 12 2017

Lindisfarne gig – Audience feedback

“Thanks to both you and Ron for another wonderful musical experience. We anticipated a sort of sentimental journey (which would have been enjoyable enough) but Lindisfarne delivered so much more.

And you chose the perfect warm-up act: Nick Hall did a great job. I’m more impressed every time I see him.”

(John F)

Mar 7 2017

Lindisfarne, Friday 3rd March 2017

We probably could have sold out two nights for this wonderful band, who royally entertained us on Friday night! If anyone doubted whether this sextet of veterans could still generate the energy, power and skill of their hit-making heyday, those doubts were soon dispelled.

The stage was packed with equipment, so much so that there was little space for the guys themselves, but once they squeezed on, it was full throttle all the way. With a nearly 50 year history, there were anthems aplenty to make us smile, reminisce and sing along to.

For many of us, it was the first time that we had had the pleasure of hearing some of these unforgettable songs live and lads delivered scintillating versions of ‘Lady Eleanor’; ‘Meet Me On The Corner’; ‘Fog On The Tyne’; ‘Run For Home’; ‘We Can Swing Together’; ‘Clear White Light’; and many others that had the capacity crowd singing along at the tops of their voices.

It was a night we’ll remember forever, and special mention should be made for Nick Hall’s powerhouse opening support set, which got many in the crowd talking and seeking CDs!

Photos courtesy of Keith Belcher.

Feb 13 2017

Ashley Hutchings, Sunday 12th February 2017

Thank you to everyone who came along to see Ashley Hutchings take us on a journey through his life and times over two marvellous hours of poetry, stories and music here at TLR last night. Accompanied by the twin talents of Ruth Angell on guitar, harmonium, fiddle and vocals, and Becky Mills on guitar and vocals, this was not only a performance, but also an exhilarating gallop through 50 years of creativity and musical history. There are not many people who can say they jammed twice with the legendary Jimi Hendrix, but Ashley is one!

By turns, moving and funny, Ashley showed why he has been such a driving force in folk and rock over five decades of boundary-breaking musical adventure, and that he still has the energy and desire to entertain and delight audiences with fresh ideas and share the stage with young musicians. A sheer joy.