David Olney and Anana Kaye WHISPERS And SIGHS

David Olney and Anana Kaye
Whispers and Sighs
Schoolkids Records

A Legend Adds To His Legacy With a Boundary Shifting Closing Act.

Whispers and Sighs starts off right away telling you it’s going to be a bit different with an oh-too-short instrumental called “The Station” that’s a little bit classical and mournful, with a bit of gypsy flourish too, which levitates you to another time and place, setting the scene for this wonderful collection of songs by relative newcomer violinist Anana Kaye and legendary folk singer David Olney.
For newcomers, Olney was a rock and folk musician who recorded twenty albums in his fifty years in the business and was a songwriter with few equals.Sadly, he died doing what he loved best, passing away early last year, of an apparent heart attack while onstage, three songs into a songwriter festival in Florida.
David Olney lived music, a true troubadour to the end. Whispers and Sighs is his final album, a mixture of Americana, rock and folk with a healthy dose of gypsy fiddle tunes supplied by Kaye who also provides vocals on a number of tunes.
Anana Kaye, originally from the European country of Georgia, brings plenty of spitfire and a decidedly European air to the overall ambience.
Kaye takes the spotlight on a few songs such as the wistfully hypnotic “My Last Dream of You” and the toe tapping rocking dance pop (by the way of some decidedly Keef-esque guitar) on “Last Days of Rome.”
Kaye’s voice is winsome and breathy, and at times it reminds me a bit of Gina Birch from the Raincoats— and she can snarl rightly when required!
Speaking of voices, Olney himself, is in fine voice throughout this album, whether it’s his velvety tones on “My Favorite Goodbye” or his commanding reading at the end of “Last Days of Rome,” which adds to the tension of the song already created by Kaye; and the wonderful production by Irakli Gabriel.
The whole album grows on you a bit as you dig deeper into the cuts.
The production by Gabriel is simple, yet to the point.
Nothing wasted, nothing missing, from the warm nostalgia of “Behind Your Smile” and it’s sweet string section, to the punchy drums, rolling fuzzbass, and searing guitars of “Lie To Me” which features a surprising piano break.
Olney wasn’t just folk, he played in rock outfits too, and this album showcases his willingness to take a song to its limits to make it work whatever the genre.
Olney wasn’t one to rest on his laurels, and this album is definitely a fine testament to his legacy.

A beautiful record. Only wisdom and deep experience can make music like this.” — Mike Scott, The Waterboys

Review by Roy Peak

Released 19th March 2021
https://davidolney.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://schoolkidsrecords.tuneportals.com/UPC/634457045835

David Olney Back Catalogue
https://schoolkidsrecords.com/Artist/12547

HICKORY WIND Ben Fong-Torres

Hickory Wind
Ben Fong-Torres
This Day In Music Books/Extradition Publishing

Romance, Mystery, Double Dealing and of course Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.

I’d like to think of myself as a Gram Parson’s ‘Fan’ but when push comes to shove I actually only own a re-release CD of GP/Grievous Angel; and I couldn’t even find that earlier today (perhaps it’s in the garage?).
But; I sort of ‘know’ a lot about him ….. he carries the same kind of mythology as James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Morrison and in more recent years; Kurt Cobain.
Live fast, die young ….. leave a beautiful corpse (or not).
So; I was thrilled to receive this book to fill in the blanks, cross the I’s and dot the T’s regarding the stories I sort of knew.
To some degrees I found it quite odd that Gram’s younger years are very well documented; but now I think about it, his family affairs; especially the stories around the Snively family; of whom he was born Ingram Cecil Connor III into; via his mother were one of the richest families in The South; because of their vast empire growing, canning and selling citrus fruit were actually quantifiable as many stories made the Press and the people involved who are still alive, are/were compos mentis; while his late teenage years and beyond are riddled with holes because every single participant was generally off their head on booze, pills or worse!
It’s no surprise to read that Gram had his ‘demons’ and they were probably even genetic, with the Snively Fortune that he was so dependent on, was whittled away by various relatives who drank, did drugs and married badly and often …… do you see a theme already developing?
We will never know; but it would be interesting to know what real effect his birth-father Cecil Sr. really had on him.
Cecil Sr was a highly decorated pilot in WWII Hero; yet was made to feel as if his wife Avis had married ‘beneath herself’; which eventually took its toll one Christmas Day ….. and the family tale of the family still celebrating the holiday before the children were told will send a shiver down your back.
A born showman, Gram loved the limelight in his school years and from a very young age used his musical gifts alongside his good looks and natural charm to woo girls older than himself; and ones who still spoke fondly of this time … even though he was a philanderer from a very young age; when the book was first drafted twenty years after his death.
It was probably that combination that carried him through what was quite an unsuccessful career; the facts speak for themselves Gram Parsons’ recordings in whatever format never sold; even though he was held in such high regard the Superstar names that came to his rather wayward gigs over the years beggar belief; especially when Robert Plant and Jimmy Page and/or others, would go out of their way to see him fall around a stage in front of a couple of hundred people and come back again.
As Fong-Torres himself alludes to; you have to take many of the anecdotes about recording sessions with a grain of salt; as a lot of time had passed and the people retelling tales were undoubtedly zonked out at the time!
But; that apart …. some of the stories are truly amazing!
Gram’s time at at school and then College are illuminating and very much colour in areas of his musical education that I wasn’t really aware of, and made me smile to see he was always slightly behind the curve; but he never let that stop him promoting himself like a Star.
Gram joining the Byrds made no commercial or musical sense at the time and he more or less blew his audition as a pianist, which was what they were looking for; but he got hired and convinced McGuinn to change the band’s direction and they did; but he had gone by the time Sweetheart of the Rodeo was released …. and flopped; but has subsequently been the totem for what became Country Rock (as Gram dreamed) but he had already moved on.
Then as he shifted from band to band looking for a ‘direction,’ I wasn’t aware that the Flying Burrito Brothers had been something of a franchise with several people taking up the mantle and passing it on to someone else when a better offer came up; and like Gram’s legacy have become a ‘Great and influential band’ only with the advent of history to help their memory.
As was their won’t in that era, band members came and went at will; so it’s quite funny seeing all of the names that recorded or played with Gram in these years who have gone onto multi-millionaire superstar status creating variants on Gram’s original themes.
Another joy for me was reading about Gram meeting Emmylou Harris ….. well; reading all three or four variations!
There’s a key point in this story too; where Gram speaks to Emmylou and invites her to visit and record; naturally wary, Emmylou turns him down citing the costs involved driving 50 miles or so; he paid up but it was evident that he had no concept that someone else may not have access to unlimited funds like he did. This crops up elsewhere when his bands; regardless of how unsuccessful they were could still stay in good hotels, eat well, do copious amounts of high grade drugs …. and travel by train.
One of the things I thought I ‘knew’ about Gram Parsons was his time with and influence on the Rolling Stones. It’s fair to say that he was great friends with Keith Richards; and it says a lot about the other interviewees in the book, that Keith is one of the most cognitive participants!
It appears Gram was actually seen as little more than a hanger-on; albeit a very close one; but history shows that he was little more than a bit-part player; which for me is one of the saddest parts of this sad tale.
Then of course there is Gram’s death and its aftermath.
The build up; and in particular the recording of GP is well told and much of it is probably on the truer side of fact; but still a bit blurry; but his time in the Joshua Tree Motel will never fully be known.
By my thoughts there are five accounts of the final couple of hours, with at least one person probably not even having been there.
While several people have made a career from this association others just fled the scene and disappeared (until years later when they got in touch with Fong-Torres after the original publication) the facts seem to be a bit more bland than the myths would have us believe; it’s more than likely that after years of systematic abuse his body; aged 26 gave up following a smallish dose of morphine and his heart gave up.
Then….. of course ….. the story doesn’t end there.
Again; there are actual facts and ‘the story’ … did he really have a conversation at Clarence White’s funeral when he said he wanted a less conventional send off and set up the chain of events that led to Phil Kaufman taking a dilapidated hearse to the airport and conning them into giving him the coffin.
Kaufman’s DIY cremation isn’t even the most bonkers thing to happen those few days; after being arrested and paying a smallish fine Phil held a wake/party to celebrate Gram’s like and recoup his losses …… about 200 people turned up paying $5 a head and being served ‘Gram Pilsner’ especially labeled for the event; and the opportunity to buy ‘memorabilia‘ while acts as diverse as Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett and the Cryptkickers, a Johnny Cash ‘Looky-Likey’ act and ….. Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers played into the wee small hours.
In between, his shyster step father took what was left of Gram’s ashes to New Orleans where he was finally laid to rest.
This backfired on Parsons Sr. and he never got to see a penny of Gram’s limited estate.
As we all know the Myth of Gram Parsons has grown and grown, with many people making good from their acquaintances, and as the book meanders to a close via the reemergence of some the women in Gram’s life who want to clear up any misconceptions; the only person I can see who comes out untarnished is Emmylou Harris; who although coy about her ‘relationship’ with Parsons has continued to carry the flame for her musical partner well into the 21st Century.

Even though HICKORY WIND was first published in 1991;now with additional interviews and updates it’s still a page turner full of romance, mystery, double dealing, sex and drugs and Rock & Roll and the stories behind the songs.
Sitting discussing this earlier in the week I considered the nods towards a potential film of Gram’s life … but as my wife pointed out; there’s too much here for a two hour film; but this is bang on for a Netflix mini-series; the type that if you didn’t know the background you would shake your head and say; “That wouldn’t happen in real life.”
But it did!

Released February 18th 2021
https://www.viveleshop.com/collections/books/products/hickory-wind-the-life-and-times-of-gram-parsons-ben-fong-torres


Dean Owens and Calexico DESERT TRILOGY

Dean Owens and Calexico
The Desert Trilogy EPs
Self-released

A Cross-Atlantic Marriage Made in Heaven!

As the press release says “The Desert Trilogy EPs are the prelude to award winning Scottish singer songwriter Dean Owens upcoming album, “Sinner’s Shrine”; recorded with desert noir icons Calexico at Wavelab Studio, Tucson, just before the pandemic struck” – and it’s everything that I hoped it’d be.
Having first fallen in love with Calexico with songs like “Crystal Frontier” and albums like “The Black Light” and “Hot Rail” and their Spaghetti Western dusty twang laced with Mariachi horns.
There’s plenty of all those things on this collection of EP’s too; the first one (released 5th March) “The Burning Heart” has two songs off “Sinner’s Shrine” –The opener “New Mexico”, a spectacular reworking of a song off Dean’s debut solo record with Twang, brushed snares and brass aplenty and it’s neighbour “Here comes Paul Newman;” which is an instrumental Morricone-whistling delight.
Riverline is the third Owens’ solo write on this EP and continues the whistling against a minor key tale of a US/Mexican border agent.
Final track on the first EP is a Dean Owens/Joey Burns co-write but it’s really just Dean on a nylon stringed guitar -and stylistically it fits right in with its world-weary celebratory melancholy.
Second EP “Sand and Blood” (released 7th May) starts with another “Sinner’s Shrine” track “Land of the Hummingbird” is a sultry late night missive featuring vocals by Gaby Moreno.
“Dolina”, the second track is punctuated with rasping brass and psych-pop twang guitar, overlaid with Owens’ croon.
“Ashes and Dust” which follows is more sparse and lonesome with a distant vintage-processed vocal and “She was a raven” is a different take of “Land of the Hummingbird,” which is more uptempo and boisterous than the earlier version and is very danceable indeed.
The third and final EP in the Trilogy, “Ghosts” (released 9th July) opens with “The Hopeless Ghosts” (also from “Sinner’s Shrine”) and another guest appearance, this time from Grant Lee Phillips on harmony vocal. It’s a timeless tale of not just sadness, but hopeless situations too, set in a classic Calexico-styled soundscape. “Mother Road” features plaintively beautiful pedal steel from Paul Niehaus with haunting lonesome trumpet from Jacob Valenzuela, in this story of an aging Seligman barber who has a shop on Route 66.
“Even when I’m gone” strips things back down to just Dean , guitar and whistle, reflecting on the transient yet immortal nature of love,
Things won’t be the same/But life must go on”.
This EP and the Trilogy draws to a close, fittingly with “The End” a philosophical murder ballad, straight from the Cash lyrical school.
Unlike another selection of disparate works that I heard recently that had been grouped into a single release, these three EP’s stand together as a ‘whole’ – yet individually, as something very, very good indeed. Stylistically and musically Dean Owens and Calexico dovetail perfectly, giving the ideal musical bedrock for Owens’ lyrical philosophy, songwriting tightness and honeyed vocals.
The EP releases are going to be staggered along Bandcamp Fridays and believe me, you’ll want the lot, before the album drops in the Autumn.
This is a Grand Canyon of a release and it’s “merely” the prelude to the release of the “Sinner’s Shrine” album. Early contender for album/release of the year?
It really is that good.

Review by Nick Barber
https://www.deanowens.com/

BUY DON’T SPOTIFY
https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-desert-trilogy

RMHQ Music Hour Ep:3

RMHQ Music Hour
Episode 3
January 2021

Well; it all seems to be going quite well with our Music Hour and it’s proving to be a bit of a success!
As you will see this week’s episode is another groovy mix of Old New, Borrowed and Bluesy Americana and Roots Music.
There are some brand new tracks, a couple from albums due out and some oldies too …… but; for me, most importantly we have our first Gateway Song from one of our favourite musicians; Stephen Fearing.
For the foreseeable future we will be showing you the list of songs on the show (would you prefer it if we left it ‘as live’ and more exciting?) but I’m not telling you which song and album ‘changed’ Stephen’s musical leanings ….. you will have to listen … and learn.

1Dave and Phil Alvin#3 PODCASTWorld’s in a Bad Condition
2Tom Russell#3 PODCASTTonight We Ride
3Larkin Poe#3 PODCASTHorseshoes and Handgrenades
4The Burnt Pines#3 PODCASTMake The Sign
5Stephen FearingGateway#3 PODCASTintro
6Stephen FearingGateway#3 PODCASTGateway Song?
7The Lake Poets#3 PODCASTVane Tempest
8Araluen#3 PODCASTThe only hearts alive tonight
9Don Gordon’s Bandolier#3 PODCASTWho’s kissing you?
10Anna Lavigne#3 PODCASTDare to Dream
11Emma Swift#3 PODCASTSimple Twist of Fate
12Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite#3 PODCASTNo Mercy in This Land
13Shemekia Copeland#3 PODCASTUncivil war
14Bo Diddley#3 PODCASTGunslinger



Rocking Magpie Music Hour Ep:2

Rocking Magpie Music Hour
Ep:2
7th January 2021

A day early and a brand new first half hour of music from I had planned; following events in ‘the other’ Washington* on Wednesday!
I’ve included a couple of what I think are very apt songs for the current mood among ‘normal people’ and especially music lovers; not just in the USA but all around the world.
Plus there are two Gateway songs; Rory Gallagher and the Groundhogs, which were cornerstones in my love affair with the Blues.
What I want to get across with this feature is how music used to be a more considered affair; we had to plan buying LP’s weeks or months in advance plus, in the case of Blues Obituary by the Groundhogs, buy them second hand.
It’s my personal opinion that the streaming services are culpable in ‘dumbing down’ music, by offering far too much choice ……. and usually for free, taking away any mystique or sense of ownership.
Just a thought.
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Oh ……. if you listen to the very end you will hear a message from our new sponsor.

https://tufac.bigcartel.com/

*I live in the ‘original Washington’ ….. Tyne and Wear, England, a fully fledged dormitory town that the village that houses George Washington’s ancestral home.

1Drive-By Truckers#2 PODCASTArmageddon’s Back in Town
2American Aquarium#2 PODCASTA Better South
3Nathan Bell#2 PODCASTThe Big Ole American Dream
4Andre Williams#2 PODCASTWhat Now
5Jimmie Vaughan#2 PODCASTCried Like a Baby
6Stephen Fearing#2 PODCASTPut Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
7Annie Dressner#2 PODCASTMidnight Bus
8Bap and Brenda Kennedy#2 PODCASTLove Hurts
9Diana Jones#2 PODCASTAsk a Woman
10Rory GallagherGateway#2 PODCASTDaughter of the Everglades
11GroundhogsGateway#2 PODCASTNatchez Burning
12Robert Connoly Farr#2 PODCASTI Been Changed
13Chuck Prophet#2 PODCASTLaughing on the Inside
141957 Tail Fin Fiasco#2 PODCASTHarvard Tango


Rocking Magpie Radio Show Podcast 2021 Ep. #1

Rocking Magpie Podcast
Episode #1
January 3rd 2021

After four practice sessions, here’s the very first RMHQ Radio Show of 2021.
It will run parallel to the website of course, with a few new songs added to some oldies and a few that may have passed you by.
I also intend doing a ‘Gateway Song’ every week too, which will be something that changed my listening pleasures, this week it’s Rod Stewart with Tim Hardin’s Reason to Believe, from EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY, which was the first actual LP I ever bought with a Record Token from that Christmas.
I have a few more tucked up my sleeve for future weeks, and also a few friends in the Music Industry are keen to take part too ……. which is pretty damn exciting.

1Mark GerminoPODCAST #1Rex Bob Lowenstein
2Jason RingenbergPODCAST #1Nashville Without Rhinestones
3Dave RosewoodPODCAST #1Two Steps
4Byron DowdPODCAST #1Gasoline
5Ian M Bailey and Daniel WyliePODCAST #1Everything Will Be Alright
6Rod StewartGatewayPODCAST #1Reason to believe
7Courtney Marie AndrewsEFSBPODCAST #1Somebody Else’s Fault
8Curse of LonoPODCAST #1I’d start a war for you
9Rob Heron Teapad OrcPODCAST #1Lonely boy in the dole queue
10Samantha MartinJack KiddPODCAST #1So I Always Know
11John Lee HookerPODCAST #1This is Hip
12Matthew Sweet and Susannah HoffsPODCAST #1Everyone knows this is Nowhere
13Justin Townes EarlePODCAST #1If I was the Devil
14Steve EarlePODCAST #1Ain’t Glad I’m Leaving

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show Pilot Podcast #4 Readers Top 11 Albums 2020

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show Pilot Podcast #4
Readers Top 11 Albums 2020

As 2020 draws to a close here’s my final Test/Pilot Radio Show/Podcast …… and it’s tracks from the Top 11 albums in our readers Top 20 Albums of the year.
As I say in the show “this is eclectic’ as any Radio Show or reviews based website will ever get; and that’s the way I like it and will be the basis of what will come in the New Year; a weekly programme that will be something ol, something new, something borrowed and lots of Blues too.

When I first discovered ‘grown up music’ i.e LP’s, I would avidly sit listening to John Peel and Alan Freeman on BBC Radio 1 ……. both were ‘Album influenced’ and just as likely to play a Rod Stewart track followed by Gong, then Bob Marley and Neil Young with someone you’d never hear of again tucked away in-between ….. and that’s how it should be in my micro-world.

Check out the Mark Germino song on our home page to hear what my biggest influence was!

11Jason Isbell and 400 UnitRunning with our eyes closedReunions
10The DainteesBig North LightsSalutation Road (30th Anniversary)
9Our Man in the FieldIt was ever soThe Company of Strangers
8Kevin StonerockGipsy RoadTwilight Town
7Dave AlvinHighway 61 RevistedFrom an Old Guitar
6Rory GallagherWalk on Hot CoalsThe Best Of
5Ian ProwseThe ballad of North John StThe Story Of
4Kip MooreSouthpawWild World
3Richard ThompsonWall of DeathLive at Rock City
2Barenaked LadiesSunshineFake Nudes
1Drive By TruckersArmageddon’s Back in TownThe Unraveling

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show Pilot Podcast #2 My UK Top 10 Albums 2020

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show Pilot Podcast #2
My UK Top 10 Albums 2020

Well; Pilot Show #1 has been received reasonably well so upwards and onwards we go …….
The choice of music has gone down well, but it appears (and I agree) I need to buy a new microphone to make my voice sound easier on the ear.

This is Part #1 of my own personal Favourite Albums of 2021, The UK acts ……. part #2, the North American edition will come in a few days.

10The Lost DovesThe clowns are coming to townSet your sights
9Grainne DuffyShine it on meVoodoo Blues
8Matt HillGary Gilmore’s Last RequestSavage Pilgrims
7Dan Meade n Lloyd ReidGive this world a shakeIf you don’t mind
6Robin AdamsBlack CloudOne Day
5Annie DressnerBook of loveCoffee at the corner bar
4Our Man in the FieldHenry Sr. Alexander EllisDon’t SpeakThe Company of Strangers
3Rob VincentI was hurt todayThis Town
2Pete MolinariJust like AchillesAchilles
1Hannah White and Nordic ConnectionSelf Titled

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show PILOT EDITION #1

The Rocking Magpie Radio Show
PILOT EDITION #1

This has always been a vanity project, and as my wife always tells me that “I like the sound of my own voice” I’ve decided to resurrect the Rocking Magpie Radio Show!
During Lockdown II or was it III? I’ve lost track, but Mrs. Magpie set to work in the cellar of RMHQ and has built me a studio where I can record these things.
It’s been hardwork finding out how everything works; but I’ve persevered for once and here is my first attempt ……. forgive the mumbling, clunky links and nervous giggling; but …. as we say; it’s all about the music!

This Pilot edition is an introduction to a few albums due for release in early 2021 ….. ENJOY and stay tuned as I will sneak out a couple more shows under the radar over the holiday period which will be the RMHQ Readers Top 10/20 albums and also my own Favourite Albums of 2020.

Harry Dean StantonPilot #101/10/93You never can tell
Peach and QuietPilot #1Just Beyond the ShineTheres a very good chance
Anne Elizabeth LaubePilot #1AnnamaniaSunny days
The Burnt PinesPilot #1Burnt Pinesfrom seville to manhattan
AraluenPaul LushPilot #1And There it IsOh yeah!
Bad Days Blues BandPilot #1Table by the Wall05 Be careful what you wish for
Walter EganPilot #1fascinationTreat me nice
Gerry SpeharPilot #1lady libertyImmigrant Suite 12 minutes
Aaron Lee TasjanPilot #1Tasjan! Tasjan! Tasjan!Cartoon Misic
Kat DanserPilot #1One Eye OpenEnd of days
Steve EarlePilot #1JTSaint of Lost Causes

https://soundcloud.com/harrisonaphotos/rmhq-podcast-pilot-2021

Robert Vincent (with Robbie Taylor), BIDDULPH, Staff’s

Robert Vincent (with Robbie Taylor), Supported by Emily Lockett
St Lawrence’s Church, Biddulph, Staffordshire.
‘Biddulph Up In Arms’
9th October 2020

Rob Vincent; “I can’t remember how many gigs I’ve done in my life, but this feels like I’ve never done it before.”

This gig – like many others – was supposed to happen back in March – and with a full band; but we all know what happened to things like that.
Credit to Biddulph Up In Arms promoter Craig Pickering for having the tenacity to find a way to make this gig happen.
The venue – a church with Saxon origins, burnt down by the Vikings and with mysterious Templar grave slabs outside, is a wonderful space, both visually and acoustically – keeping the flame of live music burning.
Normal capacity is around 180 but that was down to exactly 60, following a day spent arranging chairs with Tetris like precision to ensure sight lines and appropriate distancing, movement routes, bar location for table service, sourcing temperature checking equipment etc. etc.
The gig was declared sold out on its re-scheduling which meant that early ticket purchasers were going to be rewarded with some very rare and high quality live entertainment.

Local support act Emily Lockett has played a couple of support slots for Biddulph Up In Arms and her growth as a songwriter, musician and performer is clear – she’s only in her first year at university and has been playing live since her mid-teens.
Her guitar playing is confident and expressive – lyrically she’s in the Maisie Peters/Taylor Swift camp of angsty relationship experiences’ but she’s growing into her own style and voice too, with songs like “I Wanna Go Out” about the acknowledged teenage frustration of lockdown.
She’s recorded recently with tonight’s soundman, Matt Bishop (Of Honey Ryder) and has more music ‘nearly ready to release.’
While her main target audience might eventually be a teenage crowd, but tonight’s significantly older audience warmly received her self-effacing humour and strong performance.
One to watch.

Just before the gig,Robert Vincent had posted on social media that he’d forgotten that ‘pre-gig adrenaline rush’ – and that rush eventually flowed fully in a one and three quarter hour set of absolute delight.
Superbly aided and abetted by multi-instrumentalist Robbie Taylor the time just flew by.
Opener “So In Love” created a cathartic release for all present, so strong that the waves could probably felt back in Liverpool.
Newer songs that haven’t had the opportunity to be presented live like “In This Town You’re Owned” took on a new life – one of the advantages of the lockdown is the delayed gratification of being able to hear these songs played and sung live; after being familiar with the recorded versions for perhaps a while longer than normal.
Early in the set, “Burns (Like Cotton in the Fields)” set the emotional standard very high indeed; self-effacingly introduced as a “sad country song” there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The quality and performance didn’t drop through songs like “Blue,” “Life in Easy Steps” and I’m Still Here,” before a powerfully understated and perfectly symbolic cover – in the light of the evening’s event – of “Come Together” for John Lennon’s 80th birthday.
A selection from the new album followed with “Conundrum” sounding spectacular – and in its duo delivery very much having the recognisable but ineffable qualities of classic music from Merseyside.
The Biddulph crowd is a discerning listening crowd and the millisecond of reverential awed silence that was being observed, leading in and out of each song spoke volumes about the genuine reverence that Rob’s performance created.
Before “The Bomb” Vincent stated that “I can’t remember how many gigs I’ve done in my life, but this feels like I’ve never done it before” – from my side of stage viewpoint, that was a mixture of the freshness of a return to playing, the communion with a crowd/people and the revelation of music that’s been hidden away behind a digital fourth wall.
“Demons” ended the set and there was time for an encore of “I’ll Make the Most of My Sins,” and by this stage, the sense of passionate warmth in the room was palpable.
In trying to make some overall critical sense of this, I found that I couldn’t separate the music from the event.
Tonight was exactly what live music is all about – a shared communal emotional interaction; needing all the ingredients being amplified in abundance by their unfortunate recent absence.
I’m not a religious man by any stretch, but Robert Vincent & Co ‘took us to Church’ in more ways than one tonight; long may that continue.

Review by Nick Barber

Photos – https://flic.kr/s/aHsmRiJvrF