Apr 2 2024

Richard Shindell 2024

Friday 15th March 2024

Photos, videos and review by Keith Belcher

The fourth visit of master song-writer and raconteur Richard Shindell. Richard hasn’t toured for many years so we were in a small and select group of venues that he chose to play. As you can see, an all electric show.

A truly wonderful night and we got to hear some new, unrecorded songs and very different arrangements of some old ones. All that and some great humour. Even an unrecorded cover of Leonard Cohen’s Alexandra Lost as an encore. A great night.

Videos by Keith Belcher

Stray Cow Blues

There Goes Mavis

Apr 1 2024

The Breath 2024

Plus support Caoilfhionn Rose

Friday 16th February 2024

Review, photos and videos by Keith Belcher

Opening for The Breath (by direct request of The Breath) was Caoilfhionn Rose (pronounced Keelin) , acompanied by Rich Williams. Born in Manchester with roots in Northern Ireland & Yorkshire. Two Albums released so far, Truly and Awaken. On the night Caoilfhionn sang lead vocals, played keyboards and acoustic guitar. Rich mainly played guitar but was also instrumental in creating a diverse multi layered sonic pallette to accompany Caoilfhionn’s songs.

A review I read on highgherplainmusic.com expresses her music better than I can.

“The mixture of airbrushed ambient, folk music and gentle psychedelia means that whilst melodies may seem straight forward at first, they are deceptively deep underneath. Not a single song is a straightforward piece”. Caoilfhionn’s short opening set got a great response form the TLR crowd at yet another sold out show.

(Next came) the very welcome return visit of The Breath, first here in November 2021. The Breath are Manchester based Ríoghnach Connolly and Stuart McCallum. Ríoghnach described their show as “our miserable cabaret”. Don’t believe it. It’s anything but miserable, yes the songs are deep, intensely personal, sometimes very sad, dealing with very emotive issues but the experience of seeing and hearing The Breath is anything but miserable!

A one set format tonight as we had already enjoyed Caoilfhionn Rose and Rich Williams. The show opened with Ditty, a gentle guitar and shruti box with Ríoghnach humming, eventually leading into Ríoghnach’s flute. This segued into a far louder and faster strummed guitar intro to Hideout. If a Breath virgin you started to get an idea of the range and power of Ríoghnach’s vocals and Stuart’s dexterity and skill on guitar.

Don’t Rush It followed with some superb reverb usage and a totally different side to Ríoghnach’s vocals on For You. The first real intro of the night belonged to Cliona’s Wave , an adaptation of Celtic Myth about Cliona (Cliodhna) , Celtic Goddess of the sea , member of the Tuatha De Danaan, daughter (legends vary, some say he adopted her) of Manannan. The story is she fell in love with a mortal and for him, left the magical island of Tairngire (the land of promise), the Gods were miffed at this and ensorcelled her into a deep sleep and a large wave swept her back to Tairngire (sorry about detail but I love Celtic Mythology!). In no version of the tale (that I know of) was the mortal known as Kevin. I think Ríoghnach might have made that part up.

A beautiful song and performance . Needless to say the intro raised a lot of laughs from the audience . Ríoghnach has one of the most infectious and wicked laughs you will hear. The applause had not stopped before they launched into Antwerp. There was much amusement in the audience as Ríoghnach spotted Ron (Pengelly) photographing and decided to pose for him , he captured the shots which are excellent and can be seen on TLR Facebook Group Page below as “The many faces of Ríoghnach Connolly”.

Antwerp was a complete change of pace with a harsher tone of voice and delivery. Stuart delved into loops and electronic wizardry building to a crescendo. Stuart apologised for the racket but said he thoroughly enjoyed it (as did we all, Stuart!). A very humourous intro to Carry Your Kin with both Ríoghnach’s and Stuart’s beaming smiles and banter warming the audience. Ríoghnach’s voice raging from whispers to roars and very effortlessly.

Next up were two album title tracks Land Of My Other and Carry Your Kin . A change of pace on Land Of My Other, a song about detachment from family reflecting Ríoghnach’s 20 plus years in Manchester away from the family home in Armagh, very personal and just beautiful. For many the highlight of the night may have been Bríd Bhán, an absolutely beautiful Donegal song about a row between husband and wife. Ríoghnach’s flute playing was sublime. I would love to hear that song with a set of uilllean pipes pitched into the mix.

The audience were given the option of visiting the loo if they didn’t like Donegal Irish songs….I didn’t see anyone doing so! The gaelic hides the actual story though like me most would just enjoy the sound, lyrics being superflous (unless you speak Irish gaelic). Another intensely personal song Little One followed about love, loss and joy, Ríoghnach’s vocal range and Stuarts instrumentation emphasising the emotional range of the song.

So it continued until the show finished with Only Stories, thankfully no pantomime performance of leaving the stage and returning a minute later. It was a superb night. It left you feeling very good and that’s what live music is for. It makes you feel!.

“The last note fades away but my heart keeps on singing,

inside my head the music keeps on ringing,

And free from this brave new world’s uncertainties and lies,

in a far better place my spirit flies

Don’t know what music means to you,

but that’s what music means to me,

It can capture my heart , yet somehow set it free,

It can tear to me to pieces , yet somehow make me whole ,

It gives me hope and feeds my soul”

The Last Note by Eric Bogle

Video by Keith Belcher

The Breath: Brid Bhan and Antwerp

Caoilfhionn Rose: Garden

Feb 13 2024

The Good Lovelies

Sunday 28th January 2024

Review, photos, video by Keith Belcher

Another sold out show for the second gig of the year. It’s becoming a habit. The third one is heading that way too. A debut appearance for Good Lovelies. Good Lovelies are Caroline Brooks: Vocals, Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Kerri Ough: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Keyboard and Susan Passmore: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Percussion, Keyboard. They do sometimes have a larger touring band but tonight we had the original core Good Lovelies trio.

They last toured 2019 and 2017 so this was the first post Covid tour. They did a straw poll at the start and from the hands up it looked like most of the audience were seeing them for the first time. I doubt many were disappointed. I would say everyone went home delighted with the pampering their ears got from the show.

We got 2 sets of great songs, good humour and stories and some of the most delightful harmonies heard at The Live Room. The lead vocals were juggled by all three, instruments alternated also. . There was a lovely tribute at the end of the show to one of their biggest fans and friends, Nick Lawson from Hull who passed away last February.

Rebecca Kemp, tour manager called up to the stage to join in for that. Nick went to all of their gigs in the UK and also travelled to Canada to see them too. RIP Nick , you are missed by those knew you.

The queue at The Merch desk was looong! at the interval and also still long when I had packed up my cameras and was on the way out. . Always a good indicator of popularity. The PA went down just before the start (the stage is not a drinks table!) but Ron sorted it out very quickly and we had the usual highly rated sound we have become accustomed to (Most artists say that , it’s not just me!).

Another band that will be very welcome back at TLR.

Video by Keith Belcher

Not A Lost Cause; and Blurry Days

Jan 30 2024

Tim O’Brien & Jan Fabricius

Friday 19th January 2024

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

The first gig of the year. The very welcome return of Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius with special guest, master fiddler Kevin Burke for the start of Set 2. We were very lucky to see Tim and Jan. They had a 36 hour nightmare journey from Nashville, delayed by snow. The gig scheduled for Sheffield on Thursday was cancelled. Tim and Jan had travelled up from Heathrow to make our show.

You really would not have guessed they had been travelling for 36 hours. The quality of the playing and singing was top notch. Jan playing mandolin , Tim, guitar, fiddle and mandolin and Kevin fiddle. Tim sang most lead vocals with Jan taking 2 songs as lead and they harmonised beautifully.

Special guest Kevin Burke opened the second set with Tim with 2 instrumentals . Jan joined the stage with Kevin and Tim for a third instrumental (Pear Tree/The Muddy Roads/Ladies Pantalettes/ The Kid On The Mountain and O’Carolans’s Concerto – for those interested) Lots of new songs as it’s been quite a few years and 3 albums since we’ve seen Tim on these shores.

Some old favourites like Brother Wind and Look Down That Lonesome Road.As you would expect at a Tim O’Brien show lots of humour throughout especially in new song Nervous.

70 years young this year and 50 years in the business and he played for just under 2 hours! The beauty of Tim is that it all looks so effortless whether its guitar,mandolin, fiddle or banjo. A true master tradesman.

Videos

Pretty Maid In A Garden; Bear; Pear Tree/The Muddy Roads/Ladies Pantalettes

Dec 28 2023

A Winter Union

Sunday 10th December 2023

Photos by Ron Pengelly

Dec 5 2023

Jim Causley: A Causley Christmas

Sunday 3rd December 2023

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

After a 10 year absence, a 7 hour drive in awful conditions and only a half hour sound check, Devon’s Jim Causley took the stage on a cold, wintry night . The audience were treated to pre-show drinks and nibbles from Hilary and Ron. A sign of the times that some mince pies were labelled vegan.

Switching effortlessly between accordion, keyboards, a Capella , stories, poems and songs, happy ,sad and somewhere inbetween. Jim, blessed with one of the best voices in the folk genre delighted the very enthusiastic Live Room audience not only with his singing but also the humour in the show. An unaccompanied poem by Roald Dahl mixing all the panto/fairy tale stories together had the audience in stitches. None of your usual festive carols featured in this show.

The show itself was a bit of a history lesson of Christmas songs from all around the British Isles (even a Gracie Fields cover from Lancashire and that well known folkie Cyndi Lauper were allowed in!). A lot of the songs were from Jim’s latest Christmas CD but many from the folk archives.

A goodtime was had by all. Set List below for those interested. (Note the Ivy and The Holly is not a typo and the Hunting The Wren is traditional not the one on the latest Lankum CD which is also covered by Natalie Merchant). Some shots below, videos to follow. Jim also wore a Christmas hat in the second set but I’d put my camera away by then. The video captures the hat though.)

Set 1

Yule

Mari Lwyd/Dartmoor Wassail

The Dunster Carol

On Christmas Day It Happened So

Wailey Wailer

Hunting The Wren

The Plymtree Carol

Christmas in No Mans Land

My Christmas Day

Set 2

Adams Fall/Feels Like Christmas

A Song Of Truth

The Jacobstowe Wassail/Christmas Morn

Innocents Song

The Ditchling Poem

Hot Pot Hot

Shepherds Arise

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs (Roald Dahl)

Mistletoe

The Ivy & The Holly

Video by Keith Belcher

Yule and Marie Llwyd/Dartoor Wassail

Nov 28 2023

Blue Rose Code 2023

Friday 24th November 2023

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher with additional info from TLR

The fifth visit of Blue Rose Code to The Live Room Saltaire. Last time as I think without checking Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) was a duo with guitarist Lyle Watt. Tonight a 4 piece with Ross, main vocals and guitar, Lyle on electric and acoustic guitars and mandolin. Gus Stirrat playing a 5 string bass, making it resemble a lead guitar at times and Stuart Brown on drums. A really cracking night. The first half was superb but the second half notched the pace up to another level altogether, serious rocking in Saltaire last Friday. Here’s to the 6th visit.

Note from TLR: As part of the 10th anniversary of their debut album, North Ten, the band has been performing the record in order as part of their shows this year. The video is their full performance of North Ten from the night. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Video

North Ten in full

Nov 28 2023

Adam Holmes

Featuring Jen Austin

Sunday 19th November 2023

Photos and video by Keith Belcher

Video by Keith Belcher

Nadine

Nov 18 2023

Honey & The Bear

Friday 17th November 2023

Photos by Nigel Plant

Nov 14 2023

Joshua Burnell – The Glass Knight Tour

Sunday 12th November 2023

Photos and videos by Keith Belcher

Video by Keith Belcher

Moonlight's Child; So Say The Crows (ft. Frances Sladen); and The Last Rain