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Road Not Taken

Venue: Forest Arts Centre
Town: New Milton, Hampshire
Date: 08-09-2019

Road Not Taken have produced an album of luscious traditional arrangements and original material that weaves together sonorous harmonium, dynamic writing for violin, beautifully understated fingerwork from the guitar and satisfying moments of vocal harmony. Their first national tour combines the polish of the album with the rich embellishment of the stories and inspiration behind their music.

Despite the fact there was barely an empty chair in the room, the band's warm rapport meant the night still felt intimate and relaxed. A delicate sprinkling of some audience favourites had the crowd singing along with the same gusto familiar at folk clubs around the country, and the closing cover was an inspired choice (but you'll have to see a show yourself enjoy the surprise).

Anita Dobson was captivating as the lead vocalist, and her voice soared over the instrumental textures with the same crystal clear clarity as the recording, complimented at different points by close harmony from Ant Miles and Claire Hamlen. The pinnacle of the harmony singing was demonstrated with a lovely four part accapella version of Shenandoah lead by Ant, performed without amplification from the front row.

There's so much more beyond the songs themselves, from the intriguing history of the violin that Claire plays so extraordinarily well (and the slightly less glamorous background of the bass guitar) to tour anecdotes and the cheeky interjections from Joe Hamlen, you really should make it a priority to see Road Not Taken in a live concert without delay.

Words: Leonardo MacKenzie

Photos: Jo Elkington

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