At the end of a recent show at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, we were approached by a couple who are regular guests at LRB. “You’ve spoiled concerts for me!” the woman says. “Why?” somewhat puzzled… “Well; music at gigs never seem as exciting as it sounds at The Little Rabbit Barn!” came the reply… Perhaps that is the greatest compliment we will ever receive and tonight’s gig with Emily Faye, Hollie Rogers and the sublime Emily Barker certainly lived up to this expectation.
Emily Faye opened with Michael Clancy on guitar. The pair spent some while prior to show time on the LRB garden bench fine tuning their songs for the evening, and it showed…
“This was quite possibly my favourite gig ever” Emily later quoted on Facebook. Having been initially influenced to write and perform by Hollie Rogers who was also on the bill. Emily used the occasion to show just what she was made of… not just a ‘fan girl’ but a ‘fan girl’ non the less…
Emily, from Northamptonshire, representing women in Music, introduces Michael Clancy on guitar as he counts them in for Open Road. Her first single, a lovely up tempo number to ‘dance your blues away’…
Bob Harris played this next song on his show recently, Giving in. Track 2 on Emily’s HERE I AM EP.
Emily tells us how she overcame writers block by challenging herself to write a song a day for 31 days which led to only one finished song. Me For Me, Track 4 on the EP. There is no substitute for putting the work in it seems… Michael played a lovely extended guitar break here.
Emily puts her guitar away for this next song, a catchy little tune called Game Over, which finished with another guitar flourish from Michael.
Barefoot was next, just a lovely summer song about going barefoot says Emily. This suited today’s weather perfectly. It had a great off-beat catchy rhythm that caught the attention of the audience as Emily had them clicking along to the laid back beat. More great guitar from Michael Clancy.
The next song was only its second live performance, written with Michael Clancy for all their friends. Leave It With Me.
The last song after a few thank yous is Grow, where again the audience were invited to join in on the chorus. Of course if you come to a Little Rabbit Barn gig, you are in the band… That was a brilliant start to the evening, thank you Emily…
Next up after a quick UAP (underwear adjustment period) and stage re-set, with endorsements from Nick Mason and Suzanne Vega and being a Cafe Nero artist of the year, we are proud to welcome Hollie Rogers with Thomas Holder who sported a beautiful looking (and sounding as we were about to find out) double bass.
Hollie opened with her latest single Sinner and it was here we realised what a big voice and stage presence she has…
Hollie admits that she has not been to the LRB before and didn’t really know what to expect. “I thought there would be more rabbits?” laughs… It appears she did meet Florence though. The next song is S.R.S from the BODY TO GROUND EP followed by a new song, Bring me some peace.
“Being originally from Cornwall, I left so I can go back and visit. Cornwall is such a beautiful place… I actually come from Penzance where the pirates come from. ‘Jollie Roger’ Rhymes with ‘Hollie Roger’…” laughs
“This next song is about the road from Penzance to St Ives which is a spectacular drive and it’s called The Coast Road.” That was lovely gentle song invoking images of Cornwall and a rare opportunity these days to drive a great road on a sunny day.
Thomas is one of those great multi instrumentals who now switched from his double bass to the LRB House Piano. The Roland RD64
“I’m learning to play the piano at the moment, but I don’t play it in public often although I do write on it.” Hollie tells us leaving her guitar aside to sing When I Was Young. Nice!
Hollie, now back with the guitar says. “We shot a live video of this next song in THE POOL, a studio in South London that used to be an old swimming pool. This is a striped back version of Criminal Heart.” You can find a link to the video on Hollies Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/hollierogersmusic/videos/10155820923088229/
Of note; Lukas Drinkwater who often plays with Emily Barker (more later) played on that very video. Lukas is, like Thomas Clancy, another great multi instrumentalist as Tom aptly displayed tonight.
“This is a song from my second album ALL THAT FIRE called Carry Me Part 2. If you want Part 1, you’ll need to get the album”… Laughs…
It never ceases to amaze me as to how big a sound you can get from just two talented musicians. It’s also hard to describe those Pin Drop moments that make your spine tingle. You cannot convey it in words, you need to get to the gigs.
New Religion is next as Tom bows his bass to great effect… and then to finish we have, after a few more thank You’s and Hollie expressing her fears for the journey home as to the effect of Tom finishing the Egg Sandwiches in the green room… laughs… Carter. The first song from Hollies first album.
Well, that certainly brought the house down as we go into the food break.
Lyn is a wizard with the food. Can women be wizards? I won’t call her a witch and I know very little of the magic she uses with her team to produce such culinary delights, but there it is for us all to enjoy. Amazing! We also have the raffle to top it all off in true English style.
“We are privileged tonight” says J in his introduction. “Day 1 on the time line 12 July 2008 Emily played in the back garden with two thirds of THE RED CLAY HALO. She came back to the Little Rabbit Barn in 2012 and now she has returned again after supporting Mary Chapin Carpenter on her recent tour and has been invited back to support Mary again in the USA this year”
Little Deaths opened the show, track 1 on THE TOERAG SESSIONS. Emily, on stage and spot lit playing her acoustic guitar at the Little Rabbit Barn is a sight and sound to saver… you could say she started it all.
Now a song about the Blackwood River, where she grew up in Australia. She asked about our local river, the Stour? So this is about The River Stour tonight. Dear River, a track from the Red Clay Halo days.
Editor: Oops it’s the river Colne but heyho.
Blackbird next with some great strumming and Harmonica playing. Track 10 on THE TOERAG SESSIONS with little curtsy at the end.
“The LRB is not as little as it was when I first came here way back but I have fond memories of being here” says Emily, clearly happy to be back. “Now I’ll perform one of my earliest songs, about leaving Britain when I didn’t know if I’d ever be coming back. It’s called Home.” That was a gentle haunting sound very warmly applauded…
“Back in 2008 when I first came to LRB I released my second record called DESPITE THE SNOW. At the time I emailed my mailing list to book house concerts to help pay for it. At one of these I met the composer Martin Phipps. He later called up to ask me to re record this song as he was working on the score for the BBC 1 Drama Wallander.
I knew nothing about the actor Kenneth Branagh or the work of author Henning Mankell. I grew up without a TV in south west Australia. So I had to pretend I knew what he was talking about and said yes.
This is the original version of Nostalgia, and it has nothing to do with fighting crime in the south of Sweden.” Laughs… That was just beautiful…
Seated at the piano now Emily tells us that. “In 2016 I went to Memphis to record SWEET KIND OF BLUE with all star local Memphis musicians who have performed with many the greats. In just 4 days we had it done; the extreme sports of recording”… laughs.
“Sister Rosetta Tharpe who was cited as an influence by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis Johnny Cash and others died forgotten and buried in an unmarked grave in 1973. After reading her biography and learning of the incredible challenges she had to overcome as a female playing guitar in those days I wrote this song for her called Sister Goodbye.” This is from SWEET KIND OF BLUE and we enjoyed a stunning rendition tonight..
Editor: Chris Rea cited Sister Rosetta Tharpe as an influence in the making of Blue Guitars. He recounted discovering a long lost vinyl record in a top draw and being reduced to tears.
This led into Over My Shoulder almost seamlessly… laughs. You had to be there… again, another spellbinding song with those Pin Drop moments we all love so much.
After a shout out to Emily, Michael and Hollie with Tom. “Who were brilliant”, we have a cover. “I didn’t write it, but I wish I had.” Says Emily. Bruce Springsteen’s Tougher Than The Rest from TUNNEL OF LOVE.
“It reminds me of family times travelling in hot cars with no air con, sticking to plastic seats.” laughs…
Now Emily tells us “We recently recorded the original version of this with my UK band at the Quay Sessions Glasgow which is available on the BBC iPlayer, it’s called Sunshine.”
Next Emily plays No 5 Hurricane. Track 4 on SWEET KIND OF BLUE. Another beautiful mellow song. Followed by more harmonica for Disappear Track 4 from THE TOERAG SESSIONS another essential album to own.
After more thank yous we have another song for The Blackwood River, The Blackwood , another RED CLAY HALO song from the DEAR RIVER album.
We end on a real showstopper, an old Sister Rosetta Tharpe gospel song Precious Memories… Just Emily and that huge voice, clicking her fingers and holding the entire room transfixed… Simply stunning!
A well deserved ovation led to J announcing “Emily has raised the bar to a new level tonight!”
“We can see why Emily is the AMA UK (Americana Music Association UK) Artist of The Year 2018.”
Editor: When you consider the level of artists that have played LRB, to raise the bar as a solo performer is rather special.
Now we had more thank yous especially to Andy Baldwin who did a fantastic job on the sound.
Emily comes back for one more as she tells us about her unremitting tour schedule that led to tonight and finishing with an old song Almanac. Inspired by a poem about human indifference by Primo Levi. As it’s Saturday night, she had us all singing and clapping along in true LRB style.
Wow! What a performance, you really do not want to miss any of these shows if you can possibly help it.
Editor: Thanks to the wonderful performing artists, EMILY BARKER, HOLLIE ROGERS, EMILY FAYE, and a big shout to the superb side musicians Thomas Holder (Hollie Rogers), and Michael Clancy (Emily Faye). Everyone involved with the production: Andy Baldwin sound engineer; The fabulous little rabbit team of Chris Kyan on video cameras and setup, Stan without Fran this evening, Richard and Sally, Brian and Chris, Cris and Dave. Special shout to Chris for helping Lyn with food on the evening.
Picture credits: Andy Sheard, Nick Rabett & Chris Kyan
Video cameras: Chris
To our guests, big thanks for supporting live music and hope to see everyone on Saturday 21 July when we are thrilled to host and welcome back Cherry Lee Mewis and welcome Hannah Aldridge.
Jonathan and Lyn, Terry and all at LRB.