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Lilly Hiatt & Hannah Aldridge

Venue: The Blues Bar
Town: Harrogate
Date: 18/06/16

With a DIY approach to sound engineering this is a gig in the most basic of forms, and a venue that really doesn't know how to cope with the subtle craft of two wonderful songwriters, and that is such a shame.

Hiatt is one of the most arresting voices I've heard this year, but as she battles a beery, loud crowd you realise that she'll need more that a smile and her Tennessee wit to break these Yorkshire hearts. Her album, on blue vinyl, is a real treat and she's not given a chance to convey its majesty, as the drunken throng chatter and battle her throughout - if only they knew what they had missed. Her tales of dusty backroads, country noir is eloquent as is her hokey cowboy songs and tales of being bitten by the "big bad wolf of love", despite the noise she is still a great gig.

Rougher, tougher and used to "wrestling a bear" Aldridge, does pull her punches and with thunderous guitar wins the crowd. Her set is altogether more butch, muscular and her Muscle Shoals "hear me be dammed" attitude means the evening is well and truly rescued. Aldridge has tales of devils, lust, horrendous dates and a fractured love live, all relatable, even by this booze soaked lot in a quaint spa town.

A tall Amazonian of a woman, she unplugs and prowls the floor of the venue, and sings with such grace it finally falls quiet. Tracks co-written with Don Gallardo, more tales of dating religious guys, and brilliantly the story of a boyfriend who nagged her to write a song about him, who she never saw again once he heard it fill the set. The new album tracks show she's on the up and venues like this will be in her past……

Rudie Humphrey

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