Sep 26 2023

Annie Keating Band

Sunday 10th September 2023

Review & photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 10th September 2023. After a 7 week break the new Live Room season kicked off with the return visit of The Annie Keating Band. The band tonight being Annie Keating, guitar and lead vocals, Joe Coombs, guitars, Jamie Dawson, drums and Mark Lewis , upright and electric bass.

Almost a year since the debut visit on 25th September 2022. They rocked the summer off in style to a very appreciative audience who had (hopefully ) dodged the late afternoon’s torrential rainfall. The entire show was pro filmed, hopefully clips will be available soon. Catch the tour if you can.

Jul 25 2023

Carter Sampson & Amelia White

Sunday 9th July 2023

Review and photos by Ron Pengelly

Lots of love at The Live Room at Saltaire for a superb Americana double bill on Sunday evening. Great show from Carter Sampson and Amelia White of Oklahoma and Nashville towards the end of their UK tour.

Jul 25 2023

The Hoth Brothers

Sunday 25th June 2023

Review and photos by Ron Pengelly

A taste of the wilderness of New Mexico came to Saltaire on Friday with the Hoth Brothers. My photos of a hugely entertaining set of toe tapping Appalachian inspired songs from Bard Edrington and Sarah Ferrell, with Karina Wilson on fiddle and vocals standing in for Boris McCutcheon who couldn’t make the tour.

Great show, thanks folks.

Jun 10 2023

Kris Drever Band

Sunday 4th June 2023

Review, photos, video by Keith Belcher

4th June 2023. Kris Drever is no stranger to The Live Room, this was his sixth visit. This was his first with this band of friends making a rare and very welcome foray south of the border. The first of 3 Scots performances in a row for TLR in June. The wonderful Karine Polwart and Iona Lane on 4th and Glasgow based Gnoss on the 11th. Tonight the band comprised Kris on main vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, Euan Burton on upright and electric bass, Rachel Lightbody on vocals and multi tasking Admiral Fallow leader Louis Abbott playing drums, percussion, guitar and vocals.

Pretty much a sell out show with trips through the extensive back catalogue but not usually heard live with this combination of artists. Opening and closing the show proper with songs from 2016 album If Wishes Were Horses. Capernaum to start and finishing with title song If Wishes Were Horses (Both songs also feature on the new CD ..The Best Of.. a 36 track double CD). The harmonies working very well throughout. All band members contributing to vocals. An extremely well paced show with Kris giving good introductions to each song in his distinctively humourous understated style .

Set 2 opened with Kris solo playing Shetland fiddle music on guitar, The Unst Bridal Marches from 2019 mini album Hill And Shore. You could have heard a pin drop in The Live Room. The band re-joined the stage for newish song Catterline from the 2023 new album (The Best of ) . Tempo definitely upped for Hunker Down/That Old Blitz Spirit. Harvest Gypsies was next, a song performed recently at TLR by writer Boo Hewerdine.

The rest of the show just whizzed past ending with I Didn’t Try Hard Enough before a double encore of encores of Poor Man’s Son followed with an off mike encore of The Poorest Company. Kris providing solo unplugged guitar as the only instrumentation and everyone contributing to harmonies. A wonderful ending to a wonderful night. Both songs from the new compilation album.

Ron enjoyed a rare night off sound duties thanks to Tom Stanier doing a cracking job of sound mixing for this tour.

For anyone interested Poorest Company is also a song from 2006’s Before The Ruin where Kris collaborated with John McCusker and Roddy Woomble (and many others-well worth checking out ).


Hunker Down and Harvest Gypsies

May 27 2023

Suntou Susso

Friday 19th May 2023

Review, photos, video by Keith Belcher

Friday 19th May 2023, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. The debut of kora player and percussionist Suntou Susso and his extraordinary band kicked off a seriously high octane weekend at TLR with Sugaray Rayford making his second appearance on Sunday 21st but that’s another event and another future post.

I found a post online which described Gambia’s Suntou (via Bristol-in joke for those actually in the audience!!!) which said “Suntou Susso’s music brings nothing but good vibes as it combines the rich, traditional sound of his West-African Mandinka culture with Afro funk and soul…..Celebrated across Africa and Europe, Suntou is a multi-instrumentalist: kora player, percussionist, singer and composer from The Gambia.

The kora is a 22 string harp-lute, a rare and enchanting instrument. Born into the 700-year-old Griot tradition, Suntou performs his role as a historian, storyteller, and unifier of people through song, everywhere he goes and every time he gets on stage.”

The second set opened with Suntou giving a basic kora lesson and explaining the instrument which creates the most beautiful sounds in the hands of such a gifted player. You certainly did feel good in a very positive way at the end of this very upbeat and uplifting show as could be attested by the large number who took to dancing, at one point led by Suntou who had entered the crowd still playing his kora. On tunes like Rahim you were mesmerised by the shimmering sounds of the kora. Saltaire had already seen another kora player Seckou Keita who just happens to be Suntou’s older brother (there is a 3rd kora playing brother too, Sura Susso).

Besides the aforementioned eclectic musical combinations to my ears there was also good size chunks of jazz thrown in for good measure. Reminded me in some ways of banjo maestro Bela Fleck with his band The Flecktones.

The excellent and very experienced band (all Bristol based, you had to be there for the band intros)of Andy Christie -guitars, Oli Mason – Drums, Piers Tamplin – Saxophone, Dan Somers- keyboards, Tommy Kirby- 6 string bass worked wonderfully , all great performers in their own right. Suntou was playing a lot of songs from his debut album, KANÉFONYO (Never Give Up), entirely self-written, composed, and arranged. A really enjoyable show thoroughly enjoyed by all present. I would really like to see him and band back again when he next tours.

May 27 2023


Sunday 14th May 2023

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

Sunday 14th May 2023. The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club. Two debuts to TLR. Amy Clark opened for Wanderland. The first thing to say is that I would say, if averaged out this was possibly one of the youngest audiences for TLR. Both acts featuring young up and coming artists. It’s not a regular occurrence that TLR attracts a band who have been played on Radio 1 and Radio 6 . Radio 2 Folk Shows and R4’s in Tune maybe but Radio 1 is a first I think.

The opening act was Scots vocalist, improvisor and songwriter Amy Clark. Her very powerful voice very ably accompanied on keyboards by Glen Leach. Amy also played guitar on Face to Face, her penultimate song of the night. Amy graduated from Leeds Conservatoire in 2021 and whilst there was very active composing, performing and collaborating with musicians in two jazz/contemporary music bands she co-founded, Flood Company and Ah Um Collective. She has also gigged around Leeds under her own name in a jazz quartet format. Her contemporary takes on jazz and folk standards (a very different Wild Mountain Thyme for the folkies to mull over) are inspired by artists Cécile McLorin Salvant and Theo Bleckmann while her original songs draw influence from Snowpoet, Laura Marling and Liane Carroll, combining thoughtful lyricism and intricate melodies.

In 2022, she joined Leeds chamber jazz/folk jazz band Awen Ensemble and was featured on their single “Bendith”, released that same year. It had strong radio support on Jazz FM, Worldwide FM, Basic Soul Radio, Totally Wired Radio, Radio D59B (Belgrade Serbia), Soul Power Radio, Universal Rhythms, Reform Radio, Radio Alhara (Palestine) and Radio Con (Vos Argentina). Many presenters have commented on the lovely sung and spoken word vocals from Amy. In the past couple of years, Amy has also been a first call backing singer for future soul/global beats bands like KOG, Heritage and Kindelan.

London and Yorkshire based Wanderland were the brainchild of duo Matt Robinson (Snowpoet) and Natalie Wildgoose. Recording their debut EP ‘Songs, I’ in a remote old mill next to a waterfall in the north of the Yorkshire Dales over 6 months. An apt location for their style of music. The introspective and isolated setting became an incredibly generative time. They dubbed the project Wanderland intentionally as it was came about from their exploration of the wilderness.

The two records ‘Songs,I’ and ‘Songs,II’ were both written and recorded in North Yorkshire. Some songs were written only hours before recording, capturing something deep and open-hearted, you can hear the rainy days and the star speckled nights. Collaborators and friends also show up across the EP including guitarist Tara Cunningham (Tenderhost), drummer Dave Hamblett (The Magic Lantern) and bassist’s Max Luthert (Zara McFarlane and Moses Boyd) and Tom McCredie (Seafarers).

Several Wanderland songs have been played on BBC Radio 1 The Chillest Show and Annie Mac’s Power Down playlist as well as BBC Introducing, BBC 6 and a live session for BBC York, who nominated their release as Record of the Week.

Tonight the band was Natalie, Matt, Dave Hamblett and Max Luthert.


Town and Soon

May 9 2023

Fraser Anderson – TLR 11th Anniversary!

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

The long delayed second appearance of Fraser Anderson and band. Fraser first appeared 8th September 2019 accompanied by Bex Baxter (backing vocals), John Parker upright bass and Craig Connet drums. Support was from local artist The Silver Reserve (aka Matthew Sturgess ). Matthew has since appeared opening for The Little Unsaid, Della Mae and co-headlining with Bella Gaffney earlier this year.Tonight Fraser was with Bex and John as a trio.

A special night in that TLR has been going since May 4th 2012 when Jackie Oates opened the club. The second gig (I think) was the mighty Dick Gaughan on 24th June 2012. I attended both and am still here. Such was my gig schedule in those days I went to 15 other gigs between the two Saltaire dates.

A rare event to open the show tonight was that partners in crime Ron and Hilary (Hilary’s term not mine!) both appeared on stage together at the start to welcome and thank the audience and Fraser. A surprise Happy Birthday greeted them from The Live Room Chorus. Ron and Hilary had generously supplied a selection of drinks and nibbles to celebrate the birthday/anniversary.

Fraser from Edinburgh originally had been spotted by Ron and Hilary at the Folk Expo in Kansas prior to the 2019 gig, they were delighted to find he lived in Bristol, after a lengthy spell in France. At the 2019 gig I was astonished that I had never heard his music before. Several albums to his name and an opener for some huge acts.

After a great performance in 2019 the world went crazy in 2020 and for various reasons we have waited until May 2023 to welcome Fraser back. I was still just as amazed that he wasn’t a bigger name than he is. At the 2019 gig Fraser humourously demonstrated his “psychic powers” by noting the names of the audience front row pre gig and welcoming them by name. Tonights show had lots of good humour and stories between the songs.

Surprisingly Fraser told us that although he had been an opener for some seriously large crowds when opening for the likes of Joan Armatrading and Chuck Berry this was the largest audience as a headliner. I find that hard to believe after hearing the songs and music produced by Fraser and his band. Often compared to the likes of Damien Rice, Nick Drake and Bon Iver.

I am somewhat surprised so far I’ve heard no comparisons to fellow Dunediner Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code). We had an evening of wonderfully written songs with Fraser taking lead vocals, Bex providing stunningly harmonious backing and John performing pyroctechnical bass playing. Part of the show may make it onto a live recording as the evening was recorded. A great night. If not already aware then he is fully worth investigating further. Here’s to the next appearance, hopefully not 4 years.


Cold Eyes; The Wind and The Rain; Feel

May 9 2023

Chris Smither 2023

Plus support from Zak Trojano

Photos and videos by Keith Belcher (Zak Trojano video by Peter Graves)

The return of the great Chris Smither to TLR and we were gald to see that he is as brilliant as ever. Simply one of the great American songwriters and a wonderful guitar picker. His songs deserve their own category, they’re that good.

We were also treated to a great opening set from fellow American, Zak Trojano, another terrific guitarist and highly original songwriter with a beautiful baritone voice. We’ll be keeping an eye on him!


Zak Trojano: Poor Boy (John Fahey arrangement)

Chris Smither: What They Say; Train Home; No Love Today

May 1 2023

Joe Martin & His Band

Friday 28th April 2023

Photos by Ron Pengelly

This was Joe’s second visit here to TLR with his full band, this time on his first ever full tour in support of his debut album, Empty Passenger Seat, from which we heard a good selection of tracks. We love Joe’s songs, his dedication and that wonderful voice of his and he deserves support as he builds his career. This was a fabulous performance from him and his stellar band, Tom Dibb on guitar, Mark Lewis on bass and Dan Wiebe on drums. Ten shows in on the tour, they were firing on all cylinders and were a tight and dynamic unit, a perfect frame for Joe’s songwriting.

Supporting Joe on this leg of his tour was young Sheffield-based singer songwriter, Harriet Rose, who delivered a sparkling and confident set. Another beautiful singer, she has a great future ahead of her and we’ll no doubt be seeing her back here at TLR in the not too distant future.

May 1 2023

Mark Wilkinson

plus Mark Crotti

Sunday 23rd April 2023

Photos and video by Keith Belcher

The first visit of Australian, Mark Wilkinson (with fellow Aussie, Mark Crotti opening) to The Live Room after we discovered him at Americanafest, Nashville in 2022.

Some shots of support act, Mark Crotti


Mark Crotti: Half A Cup of Tea; Paint Me

Mark Wilkinson: Love High; Everything To Me; Just Be You