2017 and the first official gig of the new year at Little Rabbit Barn has come and gone already to a capacity house.
So good to see many new guests joining the guest list to support live music.
A lot of work in uncertain weather was done by the team to make it special but in the end, it’s the fabulous artists who do that.
We can only provide the canvas on which they paint and perform leaving memories of wonderful nights of live music.
Opening LRB 2017 and first up on the evening was Emma Ballantine singing songs from her SOMEBODY’S STORY project and fine EP TOURIST.
Emma explains, ‘people contact me with stories and I write them a song’. Wow! what songs.
Emma was a finalist in the UK Unsigned Songwriter of the Year competition, her music has been played by BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and BBC Introducing. We can see why!
Emma played a lovely acoustic guitar accompaniment as she sang for us.
This was followed by a few songs on keyboard, “something new for this tour” she said. Emma participated in a song writing camp with Kim Richey, another Little Rabbit friend who we always go to see whenever we get the chance. She is keeping good company there.
They wrote ‘The Flower Seller’ which she played for us tonight and is as yet un-recorded.
That was a great opening set, thank you Emma.
Next up after a very rapid stage turnaround we have the first of two headline sets.
The Frankie Davies Band were going to be louder so Ben Glover and Colm McClean were scheduled to play first so we all could appreciate the nuances of their music.
Irish born Ben Glover is now Nashville based and spends his time touring the world so we were blessed to have him come and visit the barn. He played songs old and new leaving us all spellbound.
Having written songs with Gretchen Peters (Blackbirds, the title track from her latest album) and Mary Gauthier Ben is in the top tier of contemporary Americana artists today. Blackbirds, is a stunningly good southern gothic tale of incest and murder that went on to win International Song of The Year at the UK Americana Awards.
His new album ‘Emigrant’ is a must listen, co-produced with Neilson Hubbard (who also plays bass, percussion, and piano). Ben found it ironic that he just received his Green Card (US permanent residency status) before the recent political upheaval in the states. Immigration is close to the hearts of the Irish people, something he has been writing about recently with Gretchen Peters.
Ben played a lovely song he wrote for his wife who hails from Mississippi called Mississippi Turns Blue ,”That’s as romantic as I get” he exclaimed.
We were also treated to a brand new song Easy Grace. He would love to give us all a percentage of the royalties from it as a thanks for the reception but, contrary to popular belief, there is little money in song writing these days. Or is there?
Coco Cola did use one of his songs (Too Long gone) for an advert in South America and he did get paid as well even though he never got to see it or was able to find it.
Ben treated us to both Emigrant and Blackbirds,
Both pin drop moments.
His new single was released yesterday, Fall Apart, a duet with singer Natalie Schlabs. Colm had to play Natalie’s part tonight. Not quite the same. It’s a great song though.
In Nashville Ben is part of ‘The Orphan Brigade’ and they recorded an album SOUNDTRACK TO A GHOST STORY in a haunted house. The ghost ‘Harriet’ likes the album, apparently, so she won’t haunt you if you buy it. (Also available on Tidal)
We had many tales of his travels and he also got the great LRB choir in full voice.
That was an another amazing set we didn’t want to end but to keep on schedule we did not get the opportunity to invite Ben back for an encore. Time waits for no man and we had to fit in the curry break and raffle. (Thanks again to the raffle girls, Sally and Chris)
Lyn with her team works so hard to make sure everyone is fed, accommodating special requirements too. She is also very successful at the task and deserves special praise as The Little Rabbit Barn as we know and all love it, would not be the same without her tireless efforts.
So now the final headliner takes the stage, The Frankie Davies Band.
Laura Williams is on right hand side just out of camera shot….sorry Laura.
This all female outfit stormed the LRB with their opening number Together, their anthem we are told. This outfit certainly know how to rock.
This was followed by a song about Frankie’s Nan, By your side and then one about her Dad Superman. Inspired by driving her Nan round the small Island of Jersey one summer.
Following the opening five band songs, Frankie played five solo numbers mid set which showed another side to her. She couldn’t believe how attentive we at LRB. It’s making me nervous she says but she was loving it too. She did allow herself one small glass of wine.
These girls can, and do, rock and stomp. We had great songs, amazing guitar/slide guitar/mandolin from Emily Linden, bass guitar, Laura Shea. The drums were something else, thanks Laura Williams.
Editor: As I post this a week later, we’ve just enjoyed Ward Thomas playing in front of 2000 people on the BBC Radio 2 stage at C2C (Country to Country) introduced by Bob Harris. On electric, acoustic and ukuele was Emily Linden!
All this culminated in the band playing their ‘signature piece’ a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’.
Editor: It was in the contract! Live videos from the evening now on YouTube.
Must also mention Frankie’s new song, played live for a first time, I never use to cry . This is a bit special. Video now on YouTube. Also if you can find it, Frankie posted a rehearsal video back stage featuring this same song.
Words fail me in trying to convey the power and passion that was shown on stage.
It’s hard to describe just how much fun artists of this calibre are as they present their music. You just have to be there.
The witching hour came all too soon but The Frankie Davies Band want to come back and I don’t think there will be much opposition to that idea.
As always the artist were happy to meet and greet after the show and this is a great chance to get to know them a little and have CD’ signed etc. A time to come down from the adrenaline rush.
I’m not sure how we are going to follow this up, but we will try and looking at who’s set to perform next I think places will be booked very quickly
Editor: Coming up next on Saturday 08 April, a welcome return for world stage duo Balsamo Deighton | Dahlia (Decca recording artists: Jess Roberts, Paris Georgia, Lisa Wright) |Kelly Sloan from Canada. Small number of guest places remaining.
Big thanks to Chris for the review, Andy Sheard for some incredible pictures from the evening and Simon Allen our sound engineer.
Thanks to all our guests for supporting live original music and see you next time!