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

Videos

Mark Crotti: Half A Cup of Tea; Paint Me

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

Apr 25 2023

The John Martyn Project

Friday 21st April 2023

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

Friday 21st April 2023. The John Martyn Project (Blythe Pepino, Kit Hawes, Pete Josef, Sam Brookes, John Blakeley and Jon Short)

This is a special project where six artists come together to celebrate the music of John Martyn. Each brings their own story and connection to John’s music which adds to the fabric of the overall experience of the project. Words below are lifted (with permission) from Mike Latham’s post yesterday.

“Out at The Live Room in Saltaire to see The John Martyn Project, not knowing what to expect. The venue was full and we were absolutely enthralled, gifted musicianship, wonderful voices and amazing interpretations of Martyn’s songs. Another great evening, local small venues really do provide an amazing service for those seeking the balm that music can provide.”

My Words on the performance. I have seen John Martyn many times between the late 1960’s to the early 2000’s. My favourite period being the period up to the mid 1970’s. A lot of the songs tonight related to John’s early career including Blythe’s beautiful rendition of Fairy Tale Lullaby from 1967’s debut album London Conversation and Sam’s Bless The Weather.

Many of the songs performed had not only the subtlety of acoustic works but also the power of the later John Martyn electric bands but without the slurred lyrics of John’s latter years. I also saw the 2 star studded tributes Danny Thompson put together in 2010 and 2019 at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections Festival (Yes I am a long time John Martyn fan!!). The difference with this band was that all the songs were obviously copiously rehearsed and arranged to add to and give something different from the originals. The musicianship was obviously first rate but what made them stand out were the harmonies and arrangements.

Most of John’s catalogue didn’t feature multi-artist harmonies, it really works though. Some might find it sacrilegious but many of the songs performed were not just homage and tribute but actual upgrades. As with Joni Mitchell covers (most of which I find utterly sacrilegious) why just perform note for note like the original, always best to add something unique or leave alone. That was certainly the case with this show, a really enjoyable evening, hugely appreciated by an almost capacity crowd. These are my personal views. Yours may differ, please feel free to add any comments on your views .

Videos

Intro/Go Easy; Bless The Weather; Go Down Easy; I Don't Want To Know

Apr 18 2023

Bronwynne Brent 2023

Sunday 16th April 2023

Review, photos and video by Keith Belcher

Bronwynne Brent Trio, The Live Room, Saltaire Sunday 16th April 2023. The opening night of the tour and it very nearly didn’t happen as there were passport problems, flight problems, weather problems . Apart from a very brief nap Bronwynne came directly from the airport, having spent the night before hoping she would be able to get here as her flight was cancelled.

For those that weren’t there Bronwynnes last gig at TLR was the last gig before lockdown on 15th March 2020 , we didn’t know what was going to happen over the following 2 years . Many had tickets and didn’t turn up for the show, there was a strange, poignant atmosphere, we just didn’t know what was going to happen. Bronwynne just about managed to get back to the States before the airlines stopped flying and countries doors closed, no vaccine in sight at that point , we just didn’t know!.

Logically with all the things that went wrong leading up to the gig it should have been a disaster. However most people don’t live in Bronwynne’s version of reality. On top of the problems Bronwynne hadn’t played with Graeme and Mario for several years Mario was in the Trio in 2020 but Graeme was last in the Trio in 2018’s tour (I went to 4 gigs).

They didn’t have time to rehearse. Doors were scheduled for 1830. The trio didn’t arrive at TLR until gone 1800. With all that the show actually started approaching 1930 as opposed to the scheduled 1900 . What we got was a gloriously wonderful display of music at it’s most live. Bronwynne wouldn’t actually know how to rehearse a story or well practiced lines anyway so she just did what she does best and went with the flow in her inimitable manner laughing throughout.

Mario and Graeme are both wonderful musicians and took this in their stride. That’s not to say there weren’t some off notes on occasions but when music is as live as this who cares? Set list was kind of vague and relied on comments like “you know this one don’t you?”, the version of After You’ve Gone was prefaced by “you must know this , it;’s a classic” and then a line or 2 were sung to refresh Mario and Graeme.

You don’t get any more live (or riskier) than this but it was glorious. I don’t think I am alone in thinking this was just a fabulous gig and totally summed up what live music is about.

VIDEOS BY KEITH BELCHER

Don't Tell Your Secrets to the Wind; Dark Highway; Raincoat

Mar 28 2023

Chris Wood

Sunday 26th March 2023

Review & photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 26th March 2023. The 5th visit of Chris Wood who, in my opinion, should be regaled as the Poet Laureate of Folk singer/Songwriters. An acute, astute observer and chronicler of what’s actually happening in the world at an intimate level to real families and folk, their intimate feelings, responses and behaviours. The last visit was 2020 just before you know what happened. Tonight, as well as old favourites, we heard many new and as yet unrecorded songs. Songs that are probably still untitled and may be still evolving before they reach the level that Chris is happy enough to let them free in the world. 

Mar 19 2023

State of the Union

Sunday 12th March 2023

Words, photos and videos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 12th March 2023, State of the Union, long time collaborators Brooks Williams and Boo Hewerdine appearing for the first time (together) at The Live Room at Saltaire and a cracking good sold out gig it was, good music and good humour aplenty.

Videos

State of the Union

Patience of Angels

23 Skidoo

Little Way Up

Feb 24 2023

Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira with Miguel Girão

Friday 17th February 2023

Photos & video by Keith Belcher, words by Keith Belcher & Mike Latham, review by Tony Charnock in Tyke’s Stirrings

Friday 17th February 2023, The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira accompanied by Miguel Girão. I knew we were in for a treat after the sound check which was utterly delightful and a pleasure to my tired old ears. The actual show was even better.. I’m going to unashamedly steal the text (see below) to a post by [Mike Latham] about Friday’s act.
“Another great debut at The Live Room in Saltaire. Two consummate musicians, Jocelyn Pettit from BC in Canada and Ellen Gira from near DC in the US held the audience spellbound on their first appearance at the venue.”

Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira Review

Jocelyn Pettit & Ellen Gira with Miguel Girão at The Live Room,~ Saltaire 17th
February 2023

It was almost on a whim that I ventured out to the Live Room to see this, to me,
totally unknown act. Almost, but not quite: whomever Ron and Hilary are putting on
at this comfortable and welcoming venue, you can be confident that it will be top
quality. They have an unerring eye for talent in their globe-trotting quest for new acts
to bring to our part of the world, along with, of course, bigger and more well-known
names in the music world.

To say that these excellent musicians merely met that expectation would be a massive
understatement and do them a great injustice. Here were three performers who ticked
just about every box you can think of, providing a packed and appreciative audience
with an evening of sublime music-making, as Jocelyn on violin and Ellen on cello,
with Miguel’s deliberately understated and always sympathetic guitar
accompaniment, regaled us with melodies from many different lands, their
instruments sometimes blending sweetly, sometimes playing off each other. There
was a palpable bond between Jocelyn and Ellen as they scarcely took their eyes off
each other while they were playing: clearly enjoying what they were doing, an aspect
of their performance that easily transmitted itself to the audience.

So varied was the set that it’s hard to pick out any favourites. Tunes ranged from
traditional Irish, Scottish and Scandinavian, American Old Time, a medley from
Canada, while Jocelyn sang as sweet a version of Dougie MacLean’s “Ready for the
Storm” as you could hope for, and a wistful rendering together of “Across the
Western Ocean” with their delightful harmonies was another standout. They also
included their own material, including the title track of their CD “All It Brings”.

Jocelyn’s step dancing on stage was the luxury icing on an exceedingly nice cake.
This was indeed an international trio : Jocelyn is from Canada, Ellen from the U.S.
and Miguel from Portugal. Ellen and Miguel are currently based in Glasgow.

Jocelyn and Ellen are both constantly pursuing many other avenues separately in the
music world: this collaboration is only one of their many. Too many to even begin to
mention here: check out their websites:
http://www.jocelynandellen.com/https://www.jocelynpettit.com/;
https://ellengira.com/

If this made in heaven duo ever come onto your radar, stop whatever you’re doing
and go to see them. They gave us a magical evening: you too will be spellbound.

Tony Charnock, Tykes Stirrings

Video by Keith Belcher

The Fleur Rells and Across The Western Ocean

Jan 22 2023

Lonesome Ace Stringband 2023

Friday 20th January 2023

Review & photos by Keith Belcher

Friday 20th January, The Live Room.

Opening for Canadian Trio The Lonesome Ace Stringband were Phrase and Fable, a duo consisting of Maria Wallace and Phil Stott . Maria Wallace on vocals, claw hammer banjo and fiddle and Phil on vocals and guitar.

This was Lonesome Ace Stringband’s second visit to TLR. Last time was 15th September 2019. I saw them earlier that year sharing a double header with The Local Honeys at Celtic Connections on 26th January 2019. They would have been back a long time ago had it not been for you know what.

Like a fine wine they just carried on getting better and better and the audience had a real treat on Friday. They are Chris Coole on banjo, John Showman on fiddle and Max Malone on upright bass. Singing is divided between all three in both as soloists and harmonies.

Not surprisingly the show had been sold out for quite a while. A double gig weekend with Sierra Hull and Justin Moses (also sold out)on Sunday 22nd January. Judging from the very rapturous response from the audience they will be back.

Video by Keith Belcher

Damned Old Piney Mountain, Brown County Breakdown

Nov 15 2022

Thea Gilmore

plus support The Silver Reserve

Thursday 10th November 2022

Photos by Ron Pengelly

We were thrilled to see a sold out TLR for Thea’s first visit here and also really pleased that she asked our friend Matthew Sturgess aka The Silver Reserve to support her. The pairing of the two was inspired and their music complemented one another perfectly and made for superb evening.

While her material, specifically from the most recent album, Afterlight, was challenging, dealing with her experience of domestic abuse, Thea was anything but gloomy on stage. She was very funny, chatty and self deprecating, especially when talking about her choice of equipment and its shortcomings.

Using a mixture of live looping and a little backing track to enhance her songs, she gave us a stunning show. She really has one of the most beautiful and intimate voices you’ll ever hear. It’s no surprise that she has built a huge and dedicated following over the years.

We were also treated to a brilliant support set from The Silver Reserve, who won a bunch of new fans. We can’t wait to see him back here in March next year when he’ll be co-headlining with Bella Gaffney.

Nov 8 2022

John McCusker 2022

Friday 4th November 2022

Photos by Ron Pengelly

The third visit to TLR by John, this time on his 30th Anniversary in the Music Business tour, which is now probably his 32nd anniversary after postponements due to the pandemic! He was accompanied on this occasion by his stellar band, Sam Kelly on vocals, guitars and bouzouki; Helen McCabe on vocals, fiddle and harmonium; Toby Shaer on pipes and fiddle; and Ian Carr on guitar. It was a stunning performance in front of a sold out crowd, by five incredible musicians.

Nov 8 2022

I Draw Slow

Sunday 30th October 2022

Review and photos by Keith Belcher

Sunday 30th October 2022: The debut appearance of Dublin based 5 piece band I Draw Slow at The Live Room, Caroline Street Social Club, Saltaire. Full marks to Ron and Hilary for this booking. One of only 3 shows in this “tour”.

At the end of this show I was mystified why I hadn’t heard of this band before. Like many great modern Irish bands they may be better known in The States than UK. They’ve played very prestigious festivals such as Merlefest, Rockygrass and Wintergrass and the calibre of musicianship at those festivals in extremely high.

Five albums to their name to date. The band are : On main vocals brother and sister Dave Holden and Louise Holden, Dave also playing acoustic guitar, Adrian Hart on fiddle, Konrad Liddy on upright double bass and Colin Derham on clawhammer banjo. A vast and varied soundscape covering traditional, old time, bluegrass , pop, jazz elements , Americana. It all gelled beautifully and was without doubt their own sound. Intelligent songs, great musicianship, vocals and banter and lovely people. What’s not to like. Not surprisingly no merch was left at the end of the night. I sincerely hope they are back at TLR soon.

Video by Keith Belcher

The Boy's Not Fair; Trouble; and About A Bird In An Airport Terminal