Live In The Living Room has taken to the road and is doing a grand tour of Pizza Express restaurants around the country – well, why wouldn’t you? And having seen the line-up of artistes… why wouldn’t you? Good Friday evening it was the turn of Birmingham’s Brindley Place to play host to quite the collection of performers.
A lovely upstairs room (with attentive waiter) first saw the opening songwriter’s round of Jessie Desai – a young female singer songwriter, Andy Hughes who had a very authentic sounding Country voice – as well as a splendid hat/shirt/boots combo, and Sam Shemmell whose looks utterly belied the voice that emerged from him – describing it with mere words can’t do it justice, so think of the deep voices of the 70s C&W superstars…Sam puts it down to his operatic beginnings, but whatever it is, it is worth hearing!
All three grew more comfortable as the show went on, with three songs each to warm up the evening.
Next up – Sam Coe and the Long Shadows. This is actually who I came to see (sorry Simon!) as I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of seeing Sam perform live. Sam – and her band – certainly didn’t disappoint. From their first song, Moving On, to their last they performed with constant energy - in fact I’m not sure that they would be capable of playing a song all the way through without going a little crazy! When a band are clearly having fun, that infects the audience, even if we were only chair dancing! Sam herself doesn’t have what might be called a classic country voice, she has a voice that was meant to be used for rocking performances, and she uses it for exactly that! Also, any band that features a Dobro and a Hammond organ are always going to grab my attention!
You don’t always get the chance to see artistes play with their full band as so many play acoustic sets, songwriter rounds etc so it was a real treat to see Simon James play with his band, the Deep River Pilots – leading to a very bearded stage (with one notable exception) The addition of drums, organ, guitars and a fiddler (without a beard!) really complements and enhances Simon’s voice without masking it as a full band could do. Simon James has a great style of his own which I have written about before, but as audience member Sally Rea Morris of Gasoline and Matches commented to me, Simon sounds even more confident when accompanied by his band. Sam Coe joined him for a rendition of Oh Honey, and with both acts being signed to Ginger Dog Records there is some great music on the way to us!
James from Live In The Living Room has done us a great favour by bringing all of these acts out on the road whilst also raising money for some very deserving charities, and I look forward to seeing the audiences grow as the word spreads!