Tag Archives: Down By The Riverside

CASE HARDIN — Live in Staines

You didn’t see it. You weren’t there. You can only imagine — You shoulda been there, man…

For those people who still support live music in Staines, last night’s show at the RIVERSIDE CLUB was a treat.

The terrific CASE HARDIN were in town — they are signed to Clubhouse Records, named after a character in Boston Teran’s thriller “God Is A Bullet” and onto their fourth album “Colours Simple.”

This was the standout gig of the year.

We had already seen this band [whose main songwriter Pete Gow has been described by Q magazine as “a songwriter like no other”] at the “Down By The Riverside” blue-grass night. Then we were totally immersed in the Vermilion River muddiness, and the sweetly drooled guitar. We thought their songs “convinced and anointed us...”

We have been looking forwards to the return of these Americana & country rock paragons.

Case Hardin - lyrics were filled with potential heartache. Every note shook us with emotion upset... Photo Credit: @neilmach 2016 ©
Case Hardin – lyrics were filled with potential heartache. Every note shook us with emotion upset… Photo Credit: @neilmach 2016 ©

After a rousing start, the band brought us into a private world of feverish imagination — “Fiction Writer” — one of a selection of numbers from the new songbook.

This brushed across the room, soft yet edgy. The lyrics were filled with potential heartache. Every note shook us with emotional upset.

We also enjoyed “First to Know”  — the ever-building song from the “Every Dirty Mirror” album that includes the scrabble word “stanchions.”     The choppy texture of guitar on this number reminded us of Denny Laine.

After discussing the merits of Scottish gin [Isle of Harris is apparently taken with a slice of pineapple on the Outer Hebrides ] we savoured the hoppy upbeat number “The Streets are Where the Cars Are (The Bars are Where the Girls Will Be.)

This has super-efficient keyboard work from Roland and schmaltzy lines of guitar from the talented Jim Maving. This band’s sounds are distinctively dry with a peppery aftertaste and gooseberry hints. Maybe HARDIN CASE are the musical equivalent of a sip of gin on the bitter Western Isles

“Warren Zevon is a great inspiration and influence for us.”
“Warren Zevon is a great inspiration and influence for us.”
After the break the band returned to treat us to a selection of acoustic covers. They ventured “into the crowd” — up-close and personal. It was a moving experience. The first song they played was “Carmelita”.

Warren Zevon is a great inspiration and influence for us.” Said vocalist and frontman Pete Gow. “And if you don’t know who he is — then maybe the last hour has been a complete mystery to you…

This number was brilliantly performed and properly ardent.In fact, it was the most exciting song of the night. Tim Emery played upright bass [“Cor that’s a big one...” shouted one wisecracker) while Roland Kemp, the band keyboardist played timbrel and provided sweet backing vocals.

If you can imagine something like the poetry of Bob Dylan peformed with the heart of Tom Petty and, perhaps, the merest hint of super-dry Johnny Cash with the fruitful finish of Leonard Cohen, then you might get somewhere near to the angled beauty and detailed instrumentation of CASE HARDIN.

But, in reality, these guys are like nothing else …

It’s a shame — you were not there!

Words & Images: Neil Mach 2016 ©
Link:
https://www.facebook.com/casehardinband

 

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THE LAVENS — LIve Down By the Riverside in STAINES

This week, Down By The Riverside in Staines, we were wowed by THE LAVENS family. They had journeyed all the way from San Antonio, Texas to entertain us at one of our regular BlueGrass Sessions.

Rachel Laven + Niko Laven - THE LAVENS Down By The Riverside in Staines. Picture: @neilmach 2016 ©
Rachel Laven + Niko Laven – THE LAVENS Down By The Riverside in Staines. Picture: Neil Mach 2016 ©

Brother Niko Laven, the tall singer/songwriter, accomplished guitarist and smooth vocalist possesses that calm bass-baritone voice you would probably associate with Johnny Cash.

[Check their orginal song ‘Shame On You‘ if you don’t believe us.]

Niko also provides a lot of vocal weight and drama to the LAVENS songs. There is a robust quality there that reminds us of Dan Tyminski.

Sister Rachel Laven is a whole other kettle of fish. Her vocals are cobweb thin and ephemeral at times. Yet, no less exciting and enchanting.

Her style sits part-way between the passionate fullness and delicate emotion of Stevie Nicks and the rootsy kookiness of Valerie June. But she is not a fragile little angel, no way. She has a cocky attitude that transfers itself into mischief with songs such as “Girls Do Too” — a.k.a the “Sh** Shower and Shave” song.

We’re not quite Partridge Family —” Niko admitted, after delivering a blatantly rude lyric (from his Mom’s song, would you believe?) It utilised the concept of travelling “a dirt track” during lovin’  (We’ll leave it at that… shall we?)

Joining this incrediblly talented duo on stage in Staines was Momma LAVEN — Jana. She provided backing vocals. “It makes your heart swell —” She told the Riverside crowd, “For a mother to listen to her own child playing a guitar solo like that … to one of her own songs.

Papa had to fly back to Texas, though. So we missed Andreas and his bass.

The Lavens and The Rosellys in Staines. here with Rachel Laven and Simon Roselly. Image: @neilmach 2016 ©
The Lavens and The Rosellys in Staines. here with Rachel Laven and Simon Roselly. Image: Neil Mach 2016 ©
However, even as a tight trio their songcraft was faultess, the delivery exemplary and the performance magical.

The wonderful English act, THE ROSELLYS presented us with a brilliant warm-up show, before they joined THE LAVENS on stage for a final rousing sing-song.

This band have been an essential part of the UK roots scene for years. With fiddle-play by Simon and intricately weaved vocal and guitar majesty from Rebecca.

This was a quality night of Americana Down By the Riverside.

With stand-out performances by two inspirational acts.

Thanks again to the wonderful STAINES RIVERSIDE CLUB for hosting an evening of such memorable entertainment.

Words & Images Neil Mach 2016 ©

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/BlueGrassStaines/
https://www.facebook.com/BritishAmericana
http://thelavens.com/

 

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Pure Exhilaration from Blues Guitar Genius — STEVE MORRISON in Staines

The Tulsa Sound is sparse yet complicated and exciting. The smoky genre is espoused by the likes of JJ Cale, Leon Russell and Eric Clapton. It is a combination of rockabilly, country-rock and blues. Packed with precision riffs, intricate finger-picking style and lively rhythms.

This week we enjoyed this kind of genuine homecrafted bluesmanship at the Staines Riverside Club.

Brought to us by Steve Morrison’s band ‘Blues Abuse‘ (terrible name — great act) with Alan Hughes on drums and the legendary Alan Glen on harmonica.

Songs like “Call Me the Breeze” (completed at a frantic rate) were intricate and pure. Enjoyable, light and transient… like early morning snow on the Black Hills.

We loved the shuffling spirit of early rhythm and blues numbers, like ‘Easy Rider.‘ Steve’s voice was incredibly soft and smooth. Toasted oak and pine oil — it slipped down real neat and it suited his sharp-fringed guitar-work and the enthusiastic percussion from Alan Hughes.

Steve performed some self-written numbers. For example — Walking Blues (New Shoes) :

My wife is the Imelda Marcos of South London…” He told the audience.

“She has three thousand pairs of shoes … And we live in an apartment with 2 beds. Mind you, it’s not all bad… at least Shoes rhymes with Blues.” This was a light-hearted country-blues number with an easy lickin’ pace.

Blues Abuse - Steve Morrison, with Alan Hughes on drums...
Blues Abuse – Steve Morrison, with Alan Hughes on drums…

All songs were played with rare agility by the fast fingered Steve (who can hold down a bass-line and chords whilst simultaneously playing the most intricate highs… a rare gift.)

Songs were almost always soaked in juicy harmonica (from Glen) and kept in motion by Hughes (on drums) — he is probably one of the best drummers we have enjoyed at the Staines venue.

We sang the spiritual “Down by the Riverside” together (the Staines crowd needed a bit of flattery and coaxing — but in the end they were able to return the love.)

Come on everyone…” Steve Encouraged “ Imagine we are in a church. A church that serves beer! What is better than that? So let it all out …” The anti-war protest song proved to be a big hit.

This was an impressive evening of music from Steve and his Blues Abuse partners. (He’s got the ‘old blues‘ real bad!) What a wonderful experience!

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Link: http://www.bluesabuse.com/

Wonderful Americana — CASE HARDIN Live in Staines — Down By The Riverside

Case Hardin take their name from a character in the award-winning thriller by Boston Teran — ‘God Is A Bullet’.

This week we saw this amazing band (whose third album “Colours Simple” is soon to be released on Clubhouse records) at the excellent Riverside Club Staines on their regular “Down By The Riverside” blue-grass night.

The set proceeded quickly and smoothly.  Never letting the Staines crowd catch-a-breath between all the sorrowed lamentations and lazy waltzes.

Gow - angry white teeth shining through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard...
Gow – angry white teeth shining through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard…

There was something ‘Pete Duel’ about the frontman, songwriter and singer Pete Gow.

He looked like a dishevelled gunman. With a lop-sided Liam Gallagher style aspect and
angry white teeth that shone through a black-dusty Che Guevara beard.

Jim Maving,  on lead guitar, looked like a cowboy version of Burt Bacharach (with silver hair and angular face.) And Tim Emery on bass was like an eel. He stretched elegantly —  as every long note was carefully matured. Andy Bastow was the rhythm machine behind the others.

We were charmed by songs that were dark, sensual and intriguing. Like the mild-mannered “Three Beautiful Daughters” (the girls who were named “After hurricanes…”) with cantering beats and a sultry voice that was as fresh as marsh water in June. The lyrics convinced and fascinated us. And when we got to the swaying chorus, it was all we could do to stop ourselves being totally immersed in the Vermilion River-style muddiness, which became particularly sweet when the guitar drooled out.

Case_Hardin_ju_@neilmach 2015 ©
Case Hardin – Anguish, wading rhythms and haunted voice…

A crowd favourite was “Three For The Road” which was taken from the band’s
acclaimed album “Some Tunes For Charlie Spencer.”

Here the voice was friendly and relaxed. Guitars were pleasantly smooth and the rhythm was pretty leisurely.

This song moved a slovenly path like a muddy river… Before winding its way into a dark lake of mystery.

Like many of the Case Hardin numbers, there’s was an inevitable sadness in this song. And its only release (before any fall) was through the beautiful lyrics and the clever finger-picking.

As an encore, the band played a cover of the Felice BrothersWhiskey In My Whiskey”.  Here we had tot of anguish, a wading rhythm, a haunted voice, some finely picked guitars and — as always —a dark bone to chew upon & meditate over.

Some songs left us with a terrible pain in the chest. Others appeared to be sent from a higher power —as if the words had been specially chosen (for us) — perhaps to convince, remind or anoint us.  All the songs seemed to contain jots of sadness. But the overall atmosphere was cheerful, although not exactly breezy.

This was a night of witty and wading country rock, with beautifully developed guitars, slowly fermenting voices and richly addictive rhythms.

Words & Images: @neilmach 2015 ©
Link: https://www.facebook.com/casehardinband/