The nice thing about writing this blog is it gives me some time out from the real world for a second or two and whilst I do, I listen to the album that I’m writing about. In most cases, that’s a real pleasure – and it is never a chore.
I’ve had my head stuck in books for the last week or so studying for 2 exams. I passed one of them which is great but the other one is tomorrow and I just can’t take any more studying… so here is my downtime.
A couple of weeks ago, we had a friend over from Dublin and we decided to run along to an impromptu gig in Islington (that’s north London for any of you that don’t know). It was called “Little Noise Sessions” and was all in aid of Mencap. We picked it up because Ellie Gouding was headlining and I thought I’d should see if she was better in a less noisy setting… by that I mean a church. It was in a little place called the Union Chapel and if you are ever in London and get a chance to see a gig there, I highly recommend it. Such a beautiful (and slightly odd) venue!
Another great thing about going along to an event like this is you see ‘support’ acts that you might not normally and as we all know, that can lead to some great discoveries. In this case there were a couple but for the purpose of this article, I would like to introduce you to Lissie and her band.
When she came on stage with her band, we didn’t know what to expect but as we got a few tracks in, I think everyone realised that something special was on stage. This lady is a natural singer and she is supported by an equally talented band. I’ll come back to them in a minute.
There’s nothing like a good ol’ live performance to encourage you to throw caution to the wind so I came home and bought her album.
I suppose there isn’t a better way for me to describe this but it’s pretty much country music. Now don’t turn off just yet! Yes, there are a couple of tracks in the middle of the album that do sound a bit middle America and this isn’t necessarily everyones thing but they are good tracks none the less. And more importantly they are wrapped up in some glorious tracks. Three tracks that I can’t decide which I like the best are “When I’m Alone”, “In Sleep” and “Loosen the Knot” but they’re all cracking. And to illustrate that I have a special treat that relates back to the band. Here is a short clip from the gig we saw. They are playing “In sleep” and the same guitar solo is on the album. That is plenty to enjoy but watch the singer/bassist/drummer – yes, he is ‘playing’ (if you count singing as an instrument) all three at the same time!!!
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As I said, it quietens down a little bit after “in Sleep” but a it’s not long before things pick up again with songs like “Cuckoo” – and to be fair, even the more laid back tunes are very good.
What is really nice about this is again, it’s a good old fashioned band. Nothing fancy here like vocalisers or synth drums. It’s just a couple of fellows and a lass belting out some great tracks. Knowing what they get up to on stage just adds to this and your appreciation of them as wonderful artists.
When you consider that Ellie Goulding is supposed to be the ‘star’ (and to be fair she was a bit better this time and had to put up with her sound desk going pop), and how much more accomplished Lissie is as a sing, you realise that raw talent isn’t necessarily what gets played on the radio – in doesn’t make it to the charts.
So here’s a big thumbs up for some good old rock based country and a big recommendation for you. Some of the tracks you’ll love instantly, some you might need to invest some time in. All of them will reward your ears.
A rare four G’s for this one.
Next time I have an old friend that has dusted off the cobwebs.