And thus it came to pass that the 2017 BBC Folk Award winner Lucy Farrell started her long-awaited solo tour tonight, appropriately enough not half an hour from her hometown here in Kent.
With a history of collaborations going back to her initial work with Jonny Kearney, for which the duo were nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Horizon Award in 2010, Lucy has a work ethic that would put many to shame. Being a quarter of The Furrow Collective, current winners of the above-mentioned Best Group prize, did not prevent her from contributing to the recent Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band's Big Machine album and tour. Throw in her contributions over several years to the Emily Portman Trio, her acclaimed work with the award winning harpist and singer Rachel Newton, together with writing, performing and recording with the likes of Dark Northumbrian and Gluepot, not to mention her own group Ogres, it is perhaps not a surprise that it has taken so long for the plunge into solo performance.
Except ... except that tonight, for the most part, it was not a solo performance. Joining Lucy on stage was accomplished accordionist Andrew Waite, BBC Young Folk Award Finalist in 2009 with Tyde, currently a member of Dallahan and more recently also with Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band. (Although he may be known henceforth as "Martin")
With the pedigree of the artists being undeniable, the question still needed to be asked, would the evening deliver, after all this was a debut? Could the inveterate band member and session musician step up to take centre-stage? Unequivocally, yes, in spades. Both sets had the audience mesmerised, such was the quality of the music presented.
The score of songs performed this evening were a mixture of traditional ballads and original compositions, with the odd Furrow Collective link, often moving and always delivered with a voice that could melt hearts, its crystal clarity ideally suited to the material presented. Lyrically, Lucy appears to have the wonderful ability to use words in a way that many established authors and song-smiths could learn from. At times the imagery is magical.P
articular highlights, (there were many) included the opening number, Suddenly, with exquisite voice, an understated tenor guitar and gentle accordion, the more upbeat Only Sound and Vandy Vandy¸ in which Lucy's plucked viola worked well as a counterpoint to Andrew's accordion, resulting in an Eastern European influenced sound.
Not unsurprisingly, as the evening progressed the chemistry between the pair developed and the warmth and emotion emitted to the audience was palpable. Connecting with those present through humour and a genuine desire to communicate, Lucy delivered her songs with obvious delight, (and not a saw in sight).
I would strongly urge you to catch Lucy on this tour, you won't be disappointed. Failing that, a recording is promised in the near future; it will be much anticipated in the Garden of England, (and elsewhere.)
On the evidence of tonight, Lucy is more than capable of making a very successful transition to a solo artist of high repute, (although it is obviously hoped that she continues with her other collaborations)
The future is bright, the future is Lucy Farrell
David Pratt - words & pics
There are only so many hours in a day and only so many gigs we can get to. We'd really like to expand our national coverage of the live scene as it remains the life blood of music.
Are you able to help us and the artist you're seeing out by dropping us a review once you get back home, and maybe even a picture. If you are able to help, Mail Us your review and we'll get it up as quick as we can
The Fatea Showcase Sessions are a series of downloads featuring acts that we've really enjoyed and think that more people should get the chance to hear.
Click Here to get the latest session