That’s it for 2018 and what a year it’s been…

Editor: What a year indeed, and who would have thought that it would include both the AMA (Americana Music Association) UK Artist of The Year 2018, EMILY BARKER and International Artist of the Year 2018, COURTNEY MARIE ANDREWS, CALLAGHAN and ELLES BAILEY, the finest Blues artist in the UK and a long way beyond!

Something tells me J picked the date for this show as the clocks go back an hour so that he gets more than 5 hours sleep for once after an LRB gig. But sleep or no sleep, this was always going to be a special night, a night to remember!

J: Never as much as that, we are still clearing down electrics and equipment until at least 3:00am

This was a first for us at LRB as Elles Bailey took to the stage to be MC for the evening, such is her admiration for the artists appearing with her on the same evening.

She eagerly tells us of how she met Tamara in Nashville and the events that led to them all touring together. The joy of it all is clear to see, they have all become great friends, and that makes great music.

So to start the show we have Tamara Stewart, an Australian singer songwriter, a multi award winner including a CMAA (Country Music Association Australia) Best Artist award, four number ones, and more, who now lives in Nashville. Armed with her Emmylou Harris Signature guitar that Gibson loaned her for the tour, performing songs from her three part series THE TRUTH THE MUSIC AND ME based on her recent life experiences.

Birds in Cages from RUIN, part 1 of this trilogy, opened the show.

“The songs tell the story” Tamara informs us as she launches into Piece Of My Mind and we are left in no doubt about the story here.

Untied is the third song from RUIN for tonight and what a great song this is. We are assured things get better in part two, laughs…

And here it is recorded on the night

This is Tamara’s 5th record and her most personal one to date, where we now move from RUIN to RECOVERY, part 2 of the trilogy and a song called Blessed.

Tamara tells us how a man from an audience in Nashville approached her to say that “Men go through this stuff too you know” and how he related to Haunted House with it’s lovely false ending that caught out the LRB crowd nicely…

“That was a bit sassy and maybe he needs to make his own album” says Tamara… laughs…

Part 3 of the trilogy THE RISING. This section starts with The Rising, and after many thank yous for the LRB and Elles plus a merch plug, we hear that this last song was written in the UK and recorded in Sheffield for a late inclusion into the album. Face The Music. 

That was an amazing opening set and the applause said it all along with the smile on Tamara’s face. You can see she had a great time and why Elles was so enthralled. We all loved it.

Now we have Elles again introducing Jackie Bristow with Mark Punch on Guitar.

Mark is from Sydney Australia.

Elles tells of how she was told that she had to see Jackie and Mark play whilst in Nashville. Wes Little who played drums on Elles’s album also played with Jackie then, so that brings it full circle. https://www.drummercafe.com/featured-musician/drummer-percussionist/wes-little.html

Needless to say, Elles was impressed by the show and so they are here playing the LRB. Jackie hails from New Zealand.

Opening with Shot Of Gold the title track from her latest album sets the tone.

Gotta Let Love Find You Track 8 from the SHOT OF GOLD Album is next some with amazing guitar from Mark Punch on all of these songs.

Whistle Blowin’ Track 1 from the album follows, where again Mark was able to show how good a Telecaster can sound in the right hands…  that was hauntingly good…

Jackie enjoyed the sound in the room tonight and complimented Simon Allen for it. Richly deserved, he is the real deal…

Kiss You Goodbye is next, Track 5 from SHOT OF GOLD. Mark taking some backing vocals here.

Next, from Jackie’s very first album we enjoy Circle Round You A song written with Mark. Superb…

The next song was a poem sent to Jackie by a childhood friend from the deep south of New Zealand. It was written by an Anzac soldier and tells his story. Fallen Youth. This is the penultimate song on SHOT OF GOLD, an album you really should own…

And here it is recorded and filmed on the night

Time for a little whiskey as we enjoy a tribute to Tony Joe White and learn how Jackie and Mark met him not long before he died. Tennessee I’m Coming Home. 

Now we have a new song about the gypsy life travelling around the world, Gypsy Roar before some thank yous and the final song.

It’s Jackie and Marks first time touring the UK before they go to Germany and it’s clear to see, by this performance, that they are enjoying it all the way.

To finish we have Freedom, the title track from her 2010 album and a great way to end a fine set at the LRB with some further blistering guitar from Mark on his Telecaster.

Jackie has twice toured supporting Bonnie Raitt and Mark has worked with Kacey Musgraves, so this gives you an idea of the quality of artists we have been privileged to enjoy close up and personal. That was an amazing performance that words alone struggle to describe, you really have to be there. Thank you Jackie Bristow and Mark Punch.

As we go into the food break it is clear to see from audience feedback that everyone is buzzing at the quality of the artists on the first half of the evening and there’s still Elles Bailey with her band to come.

Lyn and her team had the challenge of seeing all guests in a maxed out LRB had plenty to eat, that is no easy task! The raffle was a triumph as usual with 14 lots after which Lyn and J presented a bottle of something nice to all the LRB team that help on the evening, without whom the evening could not run.

The stage is set:

So now we come to the last performance of the evening and the amazing 2018 season. A performance we have all been waiting for with Elles Bailey and her full band.

Joe Wilkins on Guitar, Mathew Jones on Drums, Zak Ranyard on the Bass and Stevie Watts on the organ with the Leslie speaker, the real sound or as Lyn thought a drinks cabinet for the Little Rabbit Bar (far right hand corner of picture) but that would be far too posh… or just wishful thinking.

J says, the Wild Fire is burning hotter, harder and faster than before, as Tamara steps up on stage to give a full introduction for Elles telling her side of the story of how they met and became friends.

Joe Wilkins’s signature slide guitar sets of the show off as they launch into the first song Wildfire, then straight into Same Flame. Two real rockers…

Elles looks out of breath now as she pays tribute to Tamara and Jackie before she sings the song she wrote with Jeff Cohen in Nashville for her second, yet to be released, record. Miss Me When I’m Gone. The sound on this with organ and slide guitar is amazing, the barn is truly rocking…

Whats the Matter With You? is the next song and a future Elles Bailey classic.

A laid back soulful blues featuring more of Stevie Watts’s lovely organ sound. A song that sounds so familiar but is so new…

Elles is chatty tonight telling us about her 38 day tour and travels which led to being in Nashville, broken and tired out. Listening, on the only sunny day, to John Prine’s new album THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS. This song struck her enough to put it in the set. When I Go Away. A Levon Helm song from ELECTRIC DIRT released back in 2009. Here the band are tested on their backing vocals.

And here it is filmed and recorded on the night

Elles’s co writer Roger Cook also wrote with John Prine and so this brings things full circle again.

Now Elles tells us about her Mad Music Monday’s on Facebook and how she shared one with Tamara after which they didn’t go out for a meal like normal people… oh no,  they wrote a song.

So Tamara is invited on stage to sing said song about being a confident independent woman.

Joe Wilkins, also a song writer, found being a confident independent woman easier than he expected when asked by Elles… laughs… Woman Like Me

Now, “The awesome Jackie Bristow” is invited on stage as Elles tells us about her last visit to LRB and meeting Angel Snow before singing Angel From Montgomery another great John Prine song covered memorably by Bonnie Raitt. You can see how it all fits together.

Elles Bailey, Jackie Bristow and Tamara Stewart sharing the stage with this great band is an experience never to be forgotten. A real treat…

Elles pays tribute to her band once more and you can understand why.

Now we have the first single from the new album, a story of her ex manager who turned out to be a con artist, reminiscent of The Medicine Man. At least she got a great song out of the experience.

Elles thanks god she is not the pop star of her early 8 year old’s dreams, as you can’t drink herbal tea at the fancy parties… and you don’t get to share a van with these guys…she points to the band… Laughs… She loves the journey and performing her music at the grass roots.

So she tells of writing of The Road I Call Home and had Alan model the Tour T Shirt for us all to admire. This you can buy as we wait for the album release…

Shackles Of Love is next with a nice organ break from Stevie Jones that set the crowd applauding before Elles introduces the last song praising once more the LRB and especially Simon Allen on sound.

We now get to sing along to a song about Chess Records called Howlin’ Wolf. So we were suitably rehearsed and… “OK, You know what to do”. You’re at the LRB, you’re in the band.

Here we are treated to solos from each band member, Zak Ranyard played a fine bass solo and it’s always a treat to see Mathew Jones playing drums like Animal from the Muppets. Stevie Jones makes it look easy to get that Leslie speaker singing like only a Leslie can, and as for Joe Wilkins on his Telecaster… he rocked the joint… as always…

We wanted, no, demanded more!

The encore was such a moving moment as Elles, alone at the piano, tells of her last visit to LRB being tainted by the death of a close friend who had called on the phone to say goodbye.

This led to Elles writing Light In The Distance as a fitting tribute and I think it is a song that will live a journey of its very own. The song is that good. Another pin drop moment to move you as the last chord fades away. Stunning!

The band return to the stage to end the night with Elles’s tribute to Janis Joplin, The Girl Who Owned The Blues. More solos all round leaving LRB on a high note for sure.

Later friends told us that they were too excited and overwhelmed to sleep after the show and are still buzzing now. This is tribute to the energy and quality of performance from Tamara Stewart, Jackie Bristow and Elles Bailey with her fabulous Band.

Editor: There could be no better way to bring down the curtain on LRB 2018. Everyone should shout loud and far about ELLES BAILEY for in the words of her song and forth coming follow up to her WILDFIRE debut album you’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone.   Thanks to the wonderful  musicians in the Elles Bailey band: Joe Wilkins guitars, Mathew Jones drums, Zak Ranyard bass and Stevie Watts, keys/organ. Thanks too the other world quality artists sharing the evening, TAMARA STEWART, AND JACKIE BRISTOW with MARK PUNCH

Just think this picture of sun down at LRB 2018 is so appropriate ft Elles post sound check.

Thanks to everyone involved with the production:   Simon Allen sound engineer; The fabulous little rabbit team of Chris Kyan on video cameras and setup, Stan and Dave on guest list and artist merchandise, Richard and Brian running Little Rabbit Bar, Sally and Chris raffle, Helen, Nigel, Karen.
Big shout to Chris for all the help with food on the evening.

Picture credits: Andy Sheard, Nick Rabett
Video cameras: Chris Kyan

To our record breaking guest list (the largest in LRB history),  big thanks for supporting live music and hope to see y’all on MARCH 02 2019 for the Opening of LRB 2019. Terry is already in contact with some exciting artists for LRB 2019.

Do keep a check on LRB website for videos and updates on 2019

Our very best wishes

Jonathan and Lyn, Terry and all at LRB

Posted in Gig Reviews