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I'm With Her

Venue: The Sage
Town: Gateshead
Date: 14/5/18
Website: https://www.imwithherband.com/

I'm With Her are Sarah Jarosz, Sara Watkins and Aoife O'Donovan. I had previously seen Sarah Jarosz when when she performed with Transatlantic Sessions and was blown away by her performance. The other two I hadn't seen live but had heard their music, so was keen to see them perform as a trio.

There was no support act for the evening and, unusually, the trio played straight through with no interval; the result, an uninterrupted hour and a half plus encore, with some enjoyable chat and banter in between, both with each other and the audience. All seemed extremely happy to be back at Sage, Gateshead and more than impressed with the unusual weather!

Impressively, I counted eleven instruments on stage, which went backwards and forwards between the three of them throughout the show; various guitars, mandolin, banjo, fiddle. They are incredible musicians; every bit as talented as anyone I have seen play as part of Transatlantic Sessions. They effortlessly blurred the lines between country, folk, blues and bluegrass; I guess what we heard reminds us where the phrase "Americana" originally came from.

Taking turns to lead on vocals and provide harmony, demonstrating every time the outstanding vocals and harmonies they had to offer; on more than one occasion, I closed my eyes to listen, momentarily forgetting that their were three people on stage.

Songs performed included Muddy Waters, See Ya Around, Hundred Miles and Game To Lose. Standouts for me, however, were Crescent City (not to be confused with the Emmylou Harris song of the same title) the stunning Overland, which had the audience joining in and an exquisite music only piece which left me in sheer awe of their skills. How Watkins didn't hit someone with her bow is a mystery to me, it was moving so fast!

My only gripes would be that I'd have liked to hear them each sing a song or two of their own, with harmony from the others. Also, despite people waiting, they didn't come out to sign CDs afterwards, which was a surprise when we know they have in the past. Hopefully next time.

All in all a fabulous night and I look forward to welcoming this trio back to the banks of our hopefully not muddy waters, very soon.

Helen Mitchell

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