Janet Robin | Don Gallardo | Stevie Jones | Saturday 7th May 2016 | review by Chris Kyan
So many great artists have played so many great gigs here at The Little Rabbit Barn it really feels like this is the place to play and certainly the place to be for music lovers.
To think it all started with an initial booking of Emily Barker in 2008 where Jonathan and Lyn invited a few friends over to the house; as they say in the states, “Things Snowball!” Now it’s great that a lot more friends can share the experience.
Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo, (Anna Jenkins, Gill Sandell, without Jo Silverston) performing Nostalgia unplugged, for the first time to a live audience back in 2008, before Little Rabbit Barn
Well tonight the snowball continued to rumble in the form of Janet Robin supported by Stevie Jones with Don Gallardo co headlining the evening
The weather was set perfect too as Stevie opened for another packed house at The LRB.
Stevie is responsible for introducing Janet Robin to the UK and helping her build her fan base, something Janet herself was proud to acknowledge.
He is an archaeologist by day yet his many years in the music business have taught him to stop looking at what others do but to focus on doing your own thing. Wise advice from a pro I think. We enjoyed his short set especially This is my church, a tribute to the end of a generation of great music makers brought into focus by the many recent high profile deaths.
A quick stage change and it was time for Don Gallardo to take the LRB stage for the first time, accompanied by Travis Stock on bass/mandolin and Thomas Collison (from the Dreaming Spires) on keys
They are mid playing 19 shows in 20 days and have their set well and truly sorted. Playing songs from their new album HICKORY and some earlier material they wove their magic spell.
Don played a short solo set mid gig, one song on guitar and one on piano, whilst the boys enjoyed a beer.
You can catch them on Bob Harris’s ‘Under the apple tree’ sessions but also I urge you to catch them live. You will not be disappointed if your a fan of Americana music. Absolutely first rate.
Their album HICKORY is just great, get it in your life. The rave reviews are fully justified.
Break time again and whilst everyone was enjoying the superb food (Thanks Lyn and your team) and the chance to mingle, the stage was being re set again. The raffle was drawn.
Now it was time for Janet Robin making a third appearance at LRB.
Janet always puts on a show, but this was something special indeed. “Are you ready to rock?” she asked. Well from the opening chord we did.
We had acoustic guitar boogie, we had Telecaster magic, we had blindfolded guitar boogie at breakneck speed, we had a guitar duel between Janet and Dan Hughes. Janet winning when she played a killer lick with her teeth.
Her band had a rock solid drum and bass section, Bob Dabrowski on bass, totally suited to her style of playing.
Janet implored us to Take Me As I Am, as she approaches 50 reflecting on the attitudes we take at different stages of life, to plenty of knowing laughter from the crowd. Also the aptly named title of her new album, which unfortunately was not received in time from the printers to be available on the night.
A request had gone in for Janet to play Driving down Alvarado a song she co-wrote with Anne McCue some years earlier. Her friend and sometime backing vocalist Eve stepped in to hold the lyric sheet and harmonise in case Janet needed a prompt on the words. I don’t think Janet would do that for anyone else, you have to really feel comfortable and at home to do these things. You have to be amongst friends.
The set was coming to an end and so to fit another number in we skipped the ‘Thank Yous’ for more music time, but Janet being Janet decided to phone her mum in the USA live on stage and chat to her, again with full audience participation wishing her a happy Mother’s Day (USA) Wow we must send her mum the video, I wonder if she really knew what was happening back in the UK
Finally, joined on stage by Don Gallardo, the LRB crowd were on their feet jumping and swaying to a rock medley of Born to be wild, Satisfaction… a very special ending to a very special night of music.
Simon Allen on sound did us proud actively orchestrating things so the balance of sound was perfect realising all the pleasure with none of the pain.
That was another night I don’t think I will ever forget and the kind of night that makes The Little Rabbit Barn so special.
Editor: Thanks once again Chris for the words and pictures capturing another special evening at LRB. It was interesting to hear from Don Gallardo that The Stones came to one of his US shows last year and introduced themselves after the gig. I’m sure they were equally as impressed as us. The album HICKORY is my new favourite album this year and I can see why it has received excellent reviews from Mojo, Rolling Stone, Maverick and The Daily Telegraph to name but a few.
We look forward to hearing the new album from Janet Robin.