The Fine City Blues Explosion festival for 2016 was closed in a relaxed and chilled style on Sunday evening with a couple of sets from Morganway, playing this one as the acoustic duo of Yve and Callum. Interesting to hear the songs stripped back in this way in this informal setting, the perfect Sunday wind-down.
On Tuesday evening I headed to Norwich Arts Centre where Virginian quartet Furnace Mountain were playing the final date of their UK tour. The NAC was seated for this one with a couple of sets spanning more than hour and a half kicking off just after 8pm. Rather like the recent gig by The Stray Birds the playing and storytelling was beautiful and the early start perhaps again meant the seated audience took a bit of loosening up but did get going listening to the Appachian music here, and to my great surprise, in answer to the band’s “Has anyone here been to Virginia?” there was a sizeable number who had, maybe it’s the Norfolk connection. The songs brought to mind The Carter Family at times and we also had a Dylan cover too. Featuring upright bass, violin, mandolin and bouzouki the tempo was varied and featured some glorious harmonies, I think just about everyone took a turn on lead. The bluegrassy numbers with two fiddles got people clapping along with delight but most delightful of all was when the band were joined at the end by their children for a real stomping hoedown of an encore. What a great way to end a lovely set and close the tour which saw them clock 2,000 UK miles on the last day. They take home the British “lurgy lurgy” that we’ve all had at some point recently but I hope some great memories too.
It was an early finish at NAC so I popped up the road to The Bicycle Shop afterwards and was lucky enough to catch the last few songs by Gilmore & Roberts, who had been supported at this Dreams Music gig by the brilliant Alden, Patterson & Dashwood.
More photos to follow…
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