Roots Vibes

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Maurice Hope – words Sidney Carne – pic

First up on stage was Lake Charles-born, Louisiana singer-songwriter Gill Landry. Formerly a member of the Old Crow Medicine Show his songs strip back the veneer of life to reveal how life really is for the majority, and not the minority.

His casual approach saw him open up as he spoke, freely about Nawlins and his observation of likening girls walking along the quayside akin to flamingos on ice.

Landry’s songs darken one’s soul as he reaches deep inside his consciousness to share his own experience with shrewd observations of others as he travels life’s journey.

Ever probing, looking for cracks in life’s vessel Landry is someone who evokes stark, spare imagery whether he spoke of “Berlin” (as gin clouded his mind) or of “Broken Hearts & Things We’ll Never Know” and of course the title-track from his most recent album “Love Rides A Dark Horse” and jaunty ramble “Denver Girls” likewise figured strongly.

The hugely gifted Gill left the stage to well-earned applause and critical acclaim; here is someone who is undoubtedly worthy of a bigger stage, and or billing. I would go to see him perform at a heartbeat. His 40-minute set whet the appetite for not only me but also a lot more.

I loved the Doc Watson finger picked guitar work he used as a sparkling intro to “Dixie”; the name an old Louisiana beer he has done a few rounds with. Yes, his work provided more darkness than it did light, but his voice has character, a burr attached to it that sets him apart from most others.

Ian Felice the middle brother of New York State trio, the Felice Brothers had drawn a full house. An enthusiastic crowd awaited him as he walked out on stage to perform. His off-kilter style, guitar playing and contemporary style of songwriting has him perform and write music that’s more art driven than your average singer-songwriter. On the mention of art he did have some prints for sale at the busy merchandise table.

The reaction of the audience as he plundered his recent album Kingdom Of Dreams would not have it any other way as he provided proof of the quality of his work via the title track, and on speaking of how the joke is on him on “21st Century”, a song that speaks of how aliens landed on election day (from the reaction of people afterwards it did get you thinking).

With a mixture of strains of America’s older folk singer-songwriter and those of the more modern-day climate had crowd-pleaser Felice underline his great strength as a songwriter and performer in his own right (without the support of his brothers).

The audience were captivated by the little nuances as he served up “In The Final Reckoning” and the equally impressive “Mt. Despair” (that spoke of how he sat in the slanted rain, and voices filled the air). Though Felice’s music isn’t something I would readily place on my player certainly not to lift my spirit he has charisma, and there was a line or two on the former where he reminded me of another man who wasn’t known for his toe-tapping songs and that was the late, Mickey Newbury.

An encore was requested, and Felice duly obliged, and with him generously giving up a new song about a war veteran, and which was excellent Felice finally vacated the stage with Brothers “Ballad Of Lou The Welterweight”. It certainly left the Live audience in a good mood, as they were about to depart.