“Although I’ve been running the club for the last twelve years and Mick ran it for the previous twenty eight, I remain amazed at the quality of music we manage to attract in this little backwater in Kingswinford” was the way Ian Munro summarised what had been another excellent night’s entertainment.
The evening got off to a good start with a miscellany of the club’s iconic stalwarts, namely Ian, Bryn, and Nothing to Prove, ably assisted by the percussive efforts of the audience. Then it was time for Katriona Gilmore and Jamie
Roberts to take the stage. I hadn’t heard them before and wasn’t sure what to expect; but immediately they launched into their first number “All I’ve Known”, I knew we were in for a good evening. What struck me about this number was the way Jamie played his guitar. He had it laid across his lap, lap slide style, but without the slide. Instead he fingered the notes Appalachian Dulcimer style, and used his right hand not only for plucking and strumming but also for slapping out some percussion on the guitar body. A very effective technique that I haven’t seen before. I seem to remember a blind blues singer learning to play like this, because he had never seen the conventional way to hold a guitar, but that wasn’t the case here – Jamie just used this technique on a few numbers, the rest of the time playing conventional guitar. Katriona, meanwhile, looked after the vocals and violin accompaniment on this number which was one of her self-penned songs. Most of the songs in the set were written, either by Katriona or Jamie and they both took the vocals as appropriate. One song which really struck me was Katriona’s “Travelling in Time” dealing with the difficult issue of short term memory loss and dementia. A difficult subject to tackle, but dealt with in a very sensitive and perceptive way. As well as violin, Katriona also played mandolin. As the first half drew to a close we realised that not only were we listening to a duo of talented musicians but also to a couple of gifted songwriters.
They opened the second half with an up-tempo number, “Hunter Man”, written by Jamie. This was followed by a set of tunes, “The Badger Set”, preceded by a wonderful explanation of how one of the tunes had been written after having lunch at a place called “Upper Badger’s Bottom”. Katriona looked after most of the introductions, and it didn’t take her long to build up an excellent rapport with the audience. There were more good songs to come and I particularly liked “The Booksellers Story” and “Fleetwood Fair”. They finished the evening with “No Rest for The Wicked”, a heartfelt song written by Katriona, which of course earned them a well deserved encore.
Thinking back to Ian’s summing up, which started this review, all I can say is credit where credit’s due – another excellent booking, Ian!