Snow and ice outside still and it seemed like far longer than a month since the last Loudhailer Acoustic, so Rich and I were really looking forward to the evening – and what a brilliant night it turned out to be. A big thanks to a great audience, it was great to see so many people there. It was warm and cosy in The Back Room, and what a host of amazing performers. We were delighted to welcome new guests as well as our regular Loudhailer friends. There was a fabulous range of performances, styles and instruments, a fine eclectic mix.
Rich was taking photos, so I opened the night with the piano poem I wrote for Refugee Week, but without the piano, guitar instead. Our host Paul Sutton joined me for Respect Yourself – which was fun – no rehearsal just a ‘Do you know the one I mean?’ ‘I think so, it’ll be fine’. So, that got the ball rolling and first up Graham Brady played his catchy songs like an edgy Paul Simon. Very edgy, very catchy and very good.
Great to welcome two fine musicians with a good dollop of natural humour Lisa Wedgner and Claire Brennan whose classic jazz songs went down a treat. Lisa and I go back a long way. Always a stylish performer, it was great to see her prowl the stage and wow the crowd with her controlled vocal style and Claire’s easy jazz piano as a perfect backing.
Next up, Jim Orwin was mesmerising. We held on to every word as he painted a picture of a gritty northern sea town, and then played two of the most beautiful songs with a superb turn of phrase and classy arrangements.
A big hand next for Neil, Suzie and Alan of downtown Hornsea combo The Last Resort, whose fabulous sound of the 50s rocked the room! Complete with stand up bass, cool guitar and smooth harmonies they took me right back to those Happy Days in the USA. The spirit of Etta James and Peggy Lee was with us…or was it The Fonz?
Follow that? Well, there is one person who can follow anyone, and luckily he was there last night. Dick Appleton had everyone in stitches (well, Lynn sitting next to me for sure) and played some fine finger pickin’ good guitar. There’s one person who could follow Dick, but he wasn’t there last night so it was time for a break. But, if you come down to The Back Room on Friday March 13th he will be there. It’s the extraordinary singer and guitarist, Nick Harper who is playing a Loudhailer Special. Dick will be opening up the show. It’ll be a brilliant night. Get your tickets from the venue (01482 847007) before it sells out.
First up after the break, Gifford Rolfe and Joan Foye were on tip top form and Gifford’s stories and emotive songs – Winterlong and Songs from Another Room were fabulous. Joan joined Gifford for their final song, and what a beautiful rendition of Gretchen Peter’s All You Got is a Hammer it was. We did miss The Odd Poet though, taking the air in Barcelona I hear.
Rich explained how when we first bumped into our next guest, we really did bump into her, ice skating down at the rink. That was over ten years ago, and it was brilliant to bump into Vivian Querido (less literally) again last year and to welcome her to Loudhailer Acoustic. Vivian played beautifully and captivated the audience with her evocative Balkan gypsy solo violin tunes. A real highlight, wonderful!
Another big welcome back for singer songwriter Frankie Flowers, with a country sound, a lovely smile and a great performance. Frankie would love to go to Nashville. So her song about her parents going there and leaving her behind was ace. How could they do that?!
Karl Oakes has written some fantastic songs, and he started his set with a brand new one – my favourite so far, ‘The devil made me love you’. Karl’s atmospheric guitar playing sounded cool, with his trademark crazy strings sprouting from his headstock and threatening to poke you in the eye if you go too close to his fine looking shiny black waistcoat …
I met up with Ysabelle Wombwell earlier in the day at a meeting for a great music project I’m working on at The Warren Young People’s Centre with Lisa. So it was great that they came to Loudhailer Acoustic for the first time, and brilliant to introduce Ysabelle and Dan Spooner. Yssi and Dan played a lovely easy set, two of Ysabelle’s songs together, and then Dan’s folk Kinks sound was fabulous.
Brian Williams’ blues harp like I’ve never heard for real before was a fantastic finale for the evening. Again, a mesmerising set, complete with stomping rhythms, whoops, hollers and bluesman lyrics, it’s hard to tell where the harp ends and the vocals start. A superb end to a superb night!
Thanks to everyone who came, we enjoyed every moment.
Don’t forget, we have two pairs of train tickets for unlimited travel on Northern Rail for a day (can be used anytime until Jan 8 2016). We’re having a bus stop raffle. You buy a post card for £1 and we’ll draw the winners at the April Loudhailer Acoustic. All proceeds will support artist expenses at the Loudhailer Seaside Special at Filey Folk Festival. Come to the next Loudhailer Acoustic on Thursday March 5th, or let us know if you want to join in.
I’ll be playing bass with the high energy east/west fusion band Celtarabia at Kardomah94 on Friday 20 Feb. It’s a rare hometown gig and we always have a brilliant night, great for dancing as well as listening. It would be great to see you there. Info and tickets here.
Have a look at the photos Rich took, just click on one to see the full picture and scroll through…
I can’t sign off without a shout out for Jeff Parsons and Graham Graham Beck who were both expecting to come but the dreaded lurgy prevented it. Graham even missed Phil’s gift of none other than a Mr Kipling Battenberg cake. We took it home to keep it ‘safe’for Graham. Yum, thanks Phil.