Grapevine @ Bedfords with Hannah Sanders (with Ben Savage), Llewelyn, and Freya Roy. Bedfords Bar, Norwich 7 January 2015
A January day when we all needed some good music to lift our spirits it was pleasing to see Bedfords pretty much already full already by the time I arrived, and the music most certainly did not disappoint. It never does.
Steve ensured that the first Grapevine of 2015 started at 20:15 and the music was opened by Freya Roy, of Halesworth but currently studying at the Conservatoire in Birmingham. It must be something like a year or so since I last saw Freya play and her style and sound has noticably changed and developed in that time. It is still just her voice, guitar and loop station but the sound has some very subtle and delicate layers and there is most definitely a jazz influence creeping in here and there. She looked to be enjoying herself, played flawlessly and her quiet, understated confidence and easy-going manner charmed the audience. Already with two EPs under her belt an album is probably not too far off.
Paul and Rebecca of Llewelyn are well known to Steve but not to myself and this was to be my first time hearing them perform. I was massively taken with their songs and the manner of their performance and delivery. Personally I don’t think Paul needs quite the reverb levels he goes in for but nothing could detract from the beauty and emotive quality of the songwriting and the way they were played. Apparently they don’t perform live very often, concentrating more on staging Club Uniquity events but I really would like to hear them again. Their voices are beautiful together with delicious harmonies and had a similar effect on me as the magnificent Arlenes. Lovely and emotive songs and a wonderfully laid back and witty engagement between songs. There is great chemistry between them onstage and the smiles were abundant. I now need to trawl the internet to see if I can find any music of theirs so I can listen again!
I had not heard Hannah Sanders before either, tonight she was joined by Ben Savage from The Willows and they too had an easy, gentle and chatty engagement covering tea-making and wonky chimneys between songs that comprised an exquisite set of intricate and delicate beauty, played on acoustic guitars, dobro, Appalachian dulcimer and of course sumptuous vocals. Folk songs of Nova Scotia and The Mayflower performed to perfection (despite Ben telling me they were ironing out the bumps after not playing for a while), it really was a set of rare beauty and magic. The sound was spot on and the audience were spellbound throughout, with rapturous and prolonged applause at the end.
Her next visit will be at the Bicycle Shop (in March I believe she said) on the album launch tour. It is sure to be equally special.
Well done and huge heartfelt thanks for a lovely and uplifting evening of music, to Steve and Jan, Bedfords Bar, Hannah and Ben, Paul and Rebecca, Freya, and Dickie who did a marvellous job on sound desk.
Last weekend I had a rare chance to catch Dickie, with Lou, in the splendid Don’t Lose Heart, at the Walnut Tree Shades for the Norfolk Blues Society in a brief but hugely enjoyable set in a packed line up and packed pub before ending the evening at the Ten Bells for a very relaxed and soothing Jazz Jam.
words and photos, richard shashamane 2015