Blog

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

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