Country and Americana Night
The Cluny, Newcastle
November 23rd 2015
What was billed as an Americana/Country night at the Cluny was actually the album launch for local guitarist and singer-songwriter Bryan Emerson; but I was invited along by Chloe Chadwick who was also promoting her recent EP.
I arrived about 30 minutes after the doors opened and was only the third person in the room; which didn’t bode well for an evening with three local acts.
After waiting ten minutes or so for a few more people to arrive, Lee Paul started his short set with a delightful self-penned acoustic Country song called Arizona.
Dressed in a pristine, tight white t-shirt, faded jeans and a black trucker cap, Lee Paul looked every inch the Modern Country star; and even allowing for the poor behaviour of the headliners noisy friend who talked noisily all the way through the set; Lee and his mate Mike Gatto impressed me with some really intimate and passionate songs; that could and should have been featured in the Nashville TV series.
It was nice to see and hear that Lee has ‘range’ in his songs; with (Luke Bryan’s) Country Girl and (my favourite) 18 and Young being out and out Country-Rockers while Home was a slow and moody Country Blues.
With the likes of the Shires and Ward Thomas in the ascendancy perhaps there is room for a good looking Geordie lad too.
Following a short turn around and the entrance of a few more music fans; Chloe Chadwick and guitarist mate; took to the stage.
As a regular on the local pub circuit for a few years now; the deceptively young Ms. Chadwick took no notice of the media types in the bar area and concentrated on the fans on the dance-floor and only took three songs to shut the chatterers up, with the gorgeous Do You Believe in Love?
This was followed with Never Change; which drew a few inquisitive people down the steps to watch the ‘action’.
By the time Mark Bushell picked up his Dobro to accompany Chlo strummed acoustice’s well ; there were quite a few people actually watching the stage; and Don’t Be Shy from her latest EP was the highlight of the evening; although her new ‘Hillbilly song’ Wearing Hearts on Our Sleeves ran it a very close second.
Somehow Bryan Emerson has passed me by; but his brand of Country Rock; with the emphasis on ROCK isn’t my first port of call these days.
That said; Bryan and his other four band members were all spectacularly good musicians and knew how to put on a show.
What I took to be the title track Up; from Up the Dusty End was as good a Country Rocker as I’ve heard this year; and it was greatly aided by the guitarist’s funky looking 12 string guitar (possibly a Rickenbacker; but possibly not) which sounded like Tom Petty on steroids.
Another stand out song was Put You On a Bus; which, as Emerson pointed out was intended to be a Romantic Americana song about leaving Vegas or possibly somewhere along Route 66; but was actually written after a night at the Odeon cinema and putting a girl on the 63 from Eldon Square after dumping her!
Although I didn’t set out tonight expecting to hear anything too loud; the highlight of Emerson’s tight set was the immaculate Indian Sign; although cranked up to 9; there was still an identifiable melody and I could even make out the lyrics.
It was fun watching Emerson’s face every time he introduced a song by saying, “This is from my new album.” You could tell from the rye smile on his face that it had been a long time coming; and he was incredibly proud of it; and judging by the songs we heard tonight he should be.
Lee Paul – https://www.facebook.com/LeePaulMusic82/