Sep 11 2017

3hattrio, Sunday 10th September 2017

Sunday 10 September was 3hattrio at the Live Room, Saltaire; strangely enough a 3 piece all wearing hats. That was about as far as predictability went for the rest of the night.

Hailing from the desert region of Utah, the rain of Saltaire must have been unusual. Comprising Hal Cannon on lead vocals, banjo and guitar, Greg Istock on upright bass and bass drum. Eli Wrankle completes the trio on fiddle. Eli considerably the youngest by some way but up there musically in a way that made a mockery of his relative youth.

They opened with “Flight” a jaunty banjo opening before the fiddle joined the tune, some vocals and then the bass and bass drum joined the party on ‘River’. Musical layering formed a massive part of what can only be described as unclassifiable. They have rightly been described as a genre of 1 –‘An ethereal magic that puts them (3hattrio) in a field of one’, as Julian Piper of Acoustic Magazine puts it. Maverick magazine describes them as desert chamber music.

The number of audible influences are too many to mention but this was no mish mash of style, rather a unique and very refined, ethereally haunting and possibly addictive blend. Minimal conversation between songs had the audience entranced, at times an almost Tinariwen style beat was hypnotic. At times, almost classical music reverence from the audience, at other times whoops and yells for instrumental breaks. Not something that happens too often in the UK.

Vocal styling varied as much as the music with jazz style scat as well as new age multi layering. The 2 sets flew by swiftly leaving a very satisfied audience who would have booked their tickets for a return visit on the spot. Let’s hope they return to the UK soon. Full marks to Ron and Hilary for sharing their excellent taste in music with the good folk of Yorkshire.

Review and Photos by Keith Belcher

Pre Show Interviews

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

Aug 29 2017

The Sweet Water Warblers, Friday 25th August 2017

Sweet is an apt word to describe the sounds made by The Sweet Water Warblers, who graced The Live Room, Saltaire on Friday 25 August 2017. Comprising Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou Rilko and May Erlewine, they brought sublime three part harmonies, encompassing swing, gospel, bluegrass, soul and pop. They traded instruments throughout the night, taking turns on double bass, guitar, banjo and ukelele. It was fairly obvious at the sound check that the TLR crowd were in for a treat. A superb night’s entertainment, greatly appreciated by a very enthusiastic and appreciative audience . They left knowing they would be very welcome to return to Saltaire; great night, come back soon.

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Jul 30 2017

Hamilton Loomis, Friday21st July 2017

We’ve been asked many times when Hamilton Loomis would return to TLR over the past three years, so we knew the crowd would be more than ‘up for it’ after such a long wait. Well, he and his amazing band didn’t disappoint! With almost 200 excited blues fans packed in to Caroline Club, the atmosphere was absolutely electric as the band tore into their set.

With pre-release copies of his latest album, ‘Basic’, hurriedly packaged up for the tour, the set was liberally sprinkled with songs from the record, alongside old favourites, such as Bow Wow and Stuck In A Rut. We even had some Prince thrown seamlessly into a medley after only being rehearsed at the sound check!

Photos courtesy of Flo Cat

For those seeing Hamilton for the first time, there were open mouths at the sheer energy and skill of the musicians, all of whom played their hearts out. Many of the crowd remarked on just how tight the band played; the result of many years playing together. Mexico City born Armando Aussenac on drums and backing vocals and the UK’s own Roger Inniss are a pumping, driving, funky rhythm section that provides a perfect platform for the blistering guitar and harmonica work of Hamilton himself and the brilliant, Grammy Award-winning saxophonist, Fabian Hernandez, who got a standing ovation for one of his stunning solos. In fact, it was the first time we’d seen three standing ovations for any band here at TLR, such was the rapturous reception with which their two sets were greeted.

A scramble for the merchandise table after the show saw many of the crowd leave clutching signed copies of albums by Hamilton and Fabian and beaming smiles wandering out into the Saltaire night! A return visit surely can’t be another three years away!

Jul 16 2017

Jack Harris & Samantha Whates, Sunday 9th July 2017

An evening of beautiful and original songs from Jack and Samantha. Many thanks to Keith Belcher for the photos.

Jun 30 2017

Jonathan Byrd & The Pickup Cowboy, Friday 30th June

We’re not even going to bother with a full review of the show, as the comments from some of our regulars pretty much say it all – sheer magic! Thanks to Keith Belcher for the photos.

Here’s the set list – well, Jonathan’s handwritten version!

‘Fantastic finale to the Spring season at Saltaire t’other night. Jonathan Byrd and the Pick up Cowboy a.k.a Johnny Waken cast their collection of spells over the faithful with great style and humour and a three foot long saw! Waves of eerie cinemascope Stratocaster completed the prairie picture. Many thanks to Pauline Booth (nomme de plume!) and the gang for all their hard work, modesty and expertise. You are simply the……BEST!’ – Robert McGough

‘Another fine night to remember at The Live Room, Saltaire Friday June 23. Jonathan Byrd and the Pickup Cowboy (aka Johnny Waken) on the last gig of their tour. Wonderful show which even extended to some ad hoc guitar lessons after the show finished. Great stories, great humour, great songs and superb playing and singing. Come back soon.’ – Keith Belcher

‘They were great.’ – Mike Latham

Pre Show Interviews

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

Jun 17 2017

Chris Smither, Sunday 11 June 2017

In a sold out show that lasted over two hours, Chris dazzled us with his guitar playing and completely gripped us with songs from throughout his fifty year career. Love gone bad; laughing our own inadequacies; politics (including a very funny shot at the US president ‘it’s too easy!’ laughed Chris); and growing older, were all subjects explored with humour, insight and often in exquisite prose by a true master of the art of song writing. We must also say that Chris is a joy to work with, warm, friendly, funny and a complete gentleman. Thanks to everyone who came along and made it another very special night for us. Photos by Keith Belcher

Jun 6 2017

Laura Cortese & The Dance Cards, plus Don’t Feed The Peacocks, Friday 2nd June 2017

It was the Dance Cards’ second visit to TLR in two years, so impressed were we with their performance in May 2016. Our audience were also very taken with the band, voting them their tied top all-time TLR show in our 5th birthday poll. They didn’t let us down. Right from the first few bars, the string quartet of double bass, cello and twin fiddles had the crowd hooked, and combined with the beautiful four part harmonies, they really couldn’t lose.

As well as a dynamic fiddler, band leader Laura Cortese has a wonderful, rich voice, at home on both traditional material and her own pop and rock influenced compositions.  However, Jenna Moynihan on second fiddle and vocals, Valerie Thompson on cello and vocals, and Jeni Magana on bass and vocals are not just a backing band; the Dance Cards are a virtuoso unit, which, without drums or any percussion, manage to create tight, powerhouse rhythms that drive the sound.

In a night full of highlights, it is difficult to pick out favourites, but Laura’s own ‘Into The Dark’ with its pizzicato fiddle opening riff, her truly beautiful instrumental ‘Mangatskrinna’, and their bluegrass-meets-disco take on the old Gloria Estefan hit ‘Turn The Beat Around’ really stood out. But it would be difficult to beat, for sheer spine-tingling effect, their off stage, off mic encore of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Wild Horses’ and the plaintive original, ‘Skipping Stone’.

It was a perfect end to a wonderful evening, which was opened in spectacular style by a 6-piece young band (ages from 14 to 17) recommended by the Dance Cards themselves, Don’t Feed The Peacocks, formed just four months ago and in only their 4th proper concert appearance. James Haigh on guitar, Martin Parker on accordion, saxophone and flute, Owen Spafford and Alex Lord on fiddles, Cori Smith on viola and Phoebe Harty on cello and saxophone, are all part of the National Youth Folk Ensemble, and on this showing it won’t be long before their band starts to grab national recognition!

I have a feeling we’ll be doing this exact same show not too far in the future, and it’s likely to sell out, so be warned!

Pre Show Interviews

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

May 30 2017

Robbie McIntosh plus support Nick Hall, Friday 26 May 2017

Ron has been a fan of Robbie McIntosh ever since he first saw the guitarist as a 19 year old, playing with Chris Thompson’s (Manfred Mann’s Earthband) Filthy McNasty at the legendary Canning Town venue, The Bridge House in the late 70s. It was obvious even then that Robbie was an extraordinary talent. Filthy McNasty morphed into Night and went on to record albums in Los Angeles as well as touring with the likes of Doobie Brothers, and Robbie went on to The Pretenders, Paul McCartney, Sir Tom Jones, John Mayer and Norah Jones. He has also recorded with Talk Talk, Tears For Fears, Paul Young, Roger Daltrey, Mark Knopfler, Cher, Eric Bibb, George Martin, Joe Cocker, Sinead O’Connor, Daryl Hall, Kirsty McColl, Mike and the Mechanics, Tori Amos, Zucherro and countless others.

However, in between all of this activity, he has also found the time to write and record several of his own albums, with the sixth, ‘Persona Non Grata’, due for release later this year. It was his solo catalogue that provided the bulk of his show tonight, along with some well-chosen covers, such as his beautiful version of the Louis Armstrong hit, ‘Wonderful World’, and the blues classic, ‘CC Rider’. The latter provided an opportunity for Robbie and harmonica wizard, Peter Hope Evans to raise the roof with some blistering solo work.

It was a privilege to see this sensational band in action and it is always a pleasure to meet up with Robbie once again, as he is one of the true gentlemen of the music business.

We would also like to thank Nick Hall for a stunning opening set, which shows just why his reputation – and that of Plumhall, the duo featuring him and his wife, Michelle Plum – is spreading far beyond the confines of Yorkshire.

It was also a pleasure to meet up at last with someone who we’ve known for a good many years from a distance, Loudon Temple of Brookfield Knights Agency, from whom we’ve booked lots of the fantastic acts we’ve presented both here and in Wales, including Stray Birds, Bronwynne Brent and Laura Cortese and The Dance Cards. Loudon made the trip down from Glasgow specially for the show and was absolutely thrilled, so much so that he is already planning a run of shows in Scotland for Robbie and the band.

Pre Show Interviews

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

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