As 1920’s gospel singer Washington Phillips wrote in his song “Tattler”[later reworked by Ry Cooder] , “True love can be such a sweet harmony if you do the best that you can”. Well, tonight at Grateful Fred’s we enjoyed an abundance of superb ,sweet harmony singing ,not only from headliners The Danberrys [from East Nashville] but also from Liverpool-based Americana duo Limerance.
Opening the evening was another Liverpool artist, Only Child [aka Alan O’Hare]. Only Child is Alan’s band but tonight he was performing solo. A popular and well-respected writer of contemporary protest songs, Alan got the evening off to a flying start. Of particular note was his song “North John Street” about a homeless man, Simon, who he saw every day until Simon passed away. The song incorporates phrases used by Simon to address passers-by ,such as “Good people of the world”. I first heard this song when reviewing it on BBC Radio Merseyside’s “Juke Box Jury” programme and I have to admit that I didn’t understand the significance of the lyrics. Now that I do ,I can see what a beautiful ,empathetic song it is.
Alan was followed by a band who were new to me ,called Limerance ,who formed in August 2016. Limerance are Jenny Coyle and Callum Gilligan and they immediately captivated the room with their seamless, close harmony vocals ,which reminded me [and many other members of the audience] of Simon and Garfunkel. As Grateful Fred himself said “It’s amazing what you can do with one guitar and two fine voices”. Amen to that.
Limerance are due to release their debut single “Shine On” on 20th July on iTunes, and I ,for one, can’t wait. I was curious as to where the name “Limerance” came from. I can only assume that it is a derivation of “Limerence” ,which means being infatuated or obsessed with another person , or to put it another way, having a “crush” on someone.
The evening’s headliners were The Danberrys ,who are Dorothy DANiel and Ben DeBERRY , plus upright bass player Geoff Henderson. The Danberrys are a dynamic band who meld together the disparate strands of Americans music ,including soul , country blues, bluegrass and gospel , to create a unique sound ,bound together with exquisite harmonies , Dan’s deft guitar picking and Geoff’s funky bass. As well as their own , well-crafted songs ,The Danberrys also gave us a couple of appropriate [for Grateful Fred’s] covers, namely “Stealin’” [the Memphis Jug Band’s song which was the Grateful Dead’s first ever release] and the gospel song “Working On A Building” [as performed by Grateful Dead offshoot band Old And In The Way].
To conclude an evening of exceptionally fine music, The Danberrys led the audience in a stirring reading of John Prine’s “Paradise”.
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